Monday, July 28, 2014

Family Date Night: Nightfall

For the last couple of years, Justin, one of Daniel's co-workers has asked us on several occasions to come see his band, Function, play in Chattanooga. Normally at bars... late at night. Since we have a toddler, it never worked out for us to go.

Last week we learned that Function was going to be the featured act at Nightfall and we thought that it would be a good opportunity to see Justin play.

Nightfall is a free, family-friendly concert series held in downtown Chattanooga from early May through September every year. We have been wanting to go, but have been pretty busy all summer. Thankfully we were able to kill two birds with one stone – attend Nightfall and finally get to see Justin play.

Before heading to watch the show, we made a stop at Lupi's for a pizza. Then we scored parking really close to Miller Plaza and even found a section of grass to put a blanket on. Score for good pizza, close parking and a grassy spot to sit!

Jack really enjoyed hamming it up for the people sitting around us. Once the music started he liked pretending to play his version of guitar (holding his hands close together and pretending to strum). We stayed until about 9pm and even ran into one of the operator's that Daniel works with.

Nightfall was a great way to spend an evening as a family. Free family date nights are the way to go! Well the pizza cost $, but was definitely worth it.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bike Rodeo Champion

This weekend was pretty jam packed for us. Following the Lookouts game Thursday night, we got up Friday morning and took advantage of the cooler weather by going bike riding on the Tennessee River Park Greenway.

This is one of our favorite rides. We like to park towards the Chickamauga Dam (off of Amnicola Highway) and then bike into downtown Chattanooga.

The last few times we have done this ride, we have made Five Guys our midway stop. It is nice to grab lunch and it gives Jack a bit of a break.

On this particular ride we decided to bike down a section of switchbacks to the river. 

Daniel has pretty good turning skills, especially when you consider that he was pulling Jack behind him in a bike trailer. 

It took 3 minutes to get to the bottom and then he turned around and rode back up. 

After videoing them, I took a more direct ride to the bottom and biked back up. Not an easy task by any means.

Daniel has told me before that he was the 1990 Bike Rodeo Champion for his boy scout troop. After watching this, I believe him!

It has been so nice to have Daniel home this weekend. We have really missed getting to see him for most of the month of July. I hope he maintains a more normal schedule for a while.

Route (as seen above) for Friday's bike ride was about 5.5 miles, with very mild/cool weather for July.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chattanooga Lookouts

After three weeks of barely seeing Daniel, we are thrilled to have him home for an ENTIRE weekend! We are making up for lost time and cramming lots of summer activities into this one weekend.

To start, Thursday night we went to a picnic at the Lookouts Game that was hosted by NAYGN, an organization at Daniel's work. We had burgers and met some of Daniel's co-workers from the plant where he now works. There were even a couple of other toddler boys for Jack to roam around with.

I think the highlight for Jack was getting to eat ice cream sandwiches.

Though a close second would be checking out the lawnmowers that were displayed for an upcoming lawnmower race – they were nice enough to let Jack sit on a couple of the lawnmowers.

Jack also invented his own game that involved throwing an empty cup over the bleacher chairs and running to get it, over and over.

We didn't watch that much of the game. We left during the 5th inning and the Lookouts weren't doing so well. But we still had a nice evening out.

As we left, Jack cried and emphatically told us that he wanted to stay at the game and that he wasn't ready to go home. 

Poor guy. It's rough being a toddler. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Family Visit

We have only been in our house for about 5 months but we have already had plenty of guests. I'm so glad that we are able to host friends and loved ones. Our house feels like a bit of a retreat and I'm thankful that we can share that experience with others.

This weekend my aunt and her family drove over from Ashland City, TN. Daniel had to work for part of the weekend, which meant he didn't get to visit much, but it was nice for Jack and I to have visitors.

Jack must really be missing Daniel because once my aunt, uncle and cousins arrived he was really wound up. I don't think I have ever seen him so hyper and excited. 

We let him stay up late all weekend which meant he slept in (score!). Unfortunately it was rainy and foggy the whole time my family was here, but we all enjoyed being lazy and drinking coffee and visiting.

Saturday night after dinner, my Aunt Becky mentioned that Daniel and I could sneak out for a date if we wanted. It hadn't even crossed our mind to do this because Daniel had just worked about 100 hours in 8 days and we were both exhausted.

But we felt like we couldn't turn down a date opportunity, so we decided to leave bedtime duties to my aunt and cousin and we went to Nino's Pastaria (now just called Hummingbird Pastaria) for coffee and dessert.

I'm so grateful that my aunt suggested that we sneak off. It is the first time in two weeks that Daniel and I had had a semi-long conversation. We left the restaurant at 9:30pm and realized that closing time was 9! Thankfully they didn't hurry us out, and there were a few other tables still eating when we left.

For Sunday lunch, Daniel's dad and his wife joined us. As I prepped our burgers I realized we had no propane in our grill. We have been talking about refilling it but Daniel has been so busy with work that he hadn't gotten around to it. Thankfully our friends on the mountain came to the rescue. Daniel hurried over to the Reynolds and picked up a propane tank. Lunch was late but that gave us time to visit.

We had a lovely weekend and Jack loved all of the extra attention.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Keeping Busy While Daddy Works

Daniel has been working a lot over the last two weeks. As in, he's only had one day off and he happened to be sick on that particular day. 

I have been coping with my current "almost-single-parent" status by keeping us as busy as possible. If you can wear your child out so that he will take a long afternoon nap, that is the definition of a mommy win.

On Monday-Thursday we typically go to the Y so that I can have some "me time" and Jack can have some fun with other kids. 

In addition to the Y, we have been hitting up local library story hours. Last week the Signal Mountain Library hosted the Chattanooga Aquarium. The speaker brought animals that live in Tennessee – things likes snakes, lizards and turtles. It was a good talk but a little long winded for my squirmy two-year old.

Last Friday I gave Jack the choice between going to the pool or the Creative Discovery Museum

He chose to go "dig dinosaurs." We had a lot of fun, playing with all of the exhibits at the museum. I love that we can easily go and spend 2+hours at the museum. It never gets old for Jack.

Right now they have a Wizard of Oz exhibit in their upstairs area. Jack had fun pretending to gather eggs, climbing the castle slide and brushing the cowardly lion's hair.

This week we spent all day Wednesday with friends. Jack didn't nap and somehow made it through the day.  I guess having 7 other kids to play with can keep any toddler going.

Thursday we went to the Zumbini music class on the mountain. This is our second time and Jack loved it. I think drums are his favorite. 

After Zumbini, we went to the Chattanooga Zoo with our new friends from the class. The zoo was cute. Just big enough for a toddler to run around and look at all of the exhibits without having to take a stroller with you.

We started out the visit with a train ride and ended our trip on the carousel. The Coolidge Park carousel is better, but this was still a fun experience for Jack.

I am so thankful we live somewhere where it is easy to get out and do lots of activities for Jack (that don't really cost anything). 

We will be so glad when Daniel gets back to his normal working schedule and can do some fun activities with us.

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