The kids were delighted to see one another. Anna is 8 and the leader of the crew when we all convene. Jacob is just 4 months older than Brenna and so those two get along very well, especially since Brenna is such a tomboy. Braydog is happy to play along or alone, but I saw Anna "mothering" him many times. They all enjoyed their time together very much.
My sister-in-law was so kind as to take all the kids for one night and my bro took me out on the town one night. We ate at Chuey's and stopped by Dotson's Resturant in Franklin, TN for pie. Dotson's one of those locally famous holes in the walls that looks like a dump from the outside but tastes like heaven on the inside. It is a favorite of many of the country music stars that live there. Their signatures were all over the menus, heck, even Martha Stewart had been there. I had a pecan pie that was almost as good as mine! Next we hit the town and went down to music row. It was awesome to drive down Broadway and hear the all the live music streaming out of the bars. It reminded me of New Orleans a little bit, without the strip clubs! Walked around soaking in the the atmosphere, which was pretty tame since it was a Thursday night, but still full of music. Which was all I needed. We checked out the souvenir shops and went into a few bars listening to people sing and play music. You can feel the ambition and passion that these folks have for their music and feel their desire to "make it". It was a great time, such a dichotomy from my normal life of domesticity. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I saw a shirt in a store window, it was closed unfortunately, that said "Think Globally, Act Hillbilly!" Hilarious, must have it!
On Saturday we went to Mule Day in Columbia, TN, near my bro's home, which is apparently a big deal there. There were so many mules and horses in the parade is was just crazy. The parade was Grand Marshaled by Naomi Judd. We only stayed through half since my Brenna, who doesn't handle being off sleep schedule well, was tired and very grumpy.
The next to last day of our stay Anna helped me pack up a picnic lunch and we headed to Henry Horton State Park for some playground and stream wading. It was a great day, with Jacob getting to play with a friend from school and ending with great wade in the Duck River. We brought the crab rake and looked for aquatic life. We confirmed what the article in the February issue of National Geographic stated, this is a very biodiverse and healthy ecosystem. We found many native mussel species and stoneflies, all indicators of good water quality. The kids didn't understand this but sure enjoyed playing in the crystal waters. Then Brenna slipped and dunked totally under and the kids began a water fight and were soon soaked. The water temperature was still pretty cold although the air temp was in the mid 80's they were soon shivering and ready to change into dry clothes that were packed in the car. Just before we left Anna threw out her raft she made of corks and we watched it as it went down the river and talked about how, if it wasn't detained, it would end up in the Gulf of Mexico.
We headed home the next day, needed to get home to get Brenna to her Kindergarten Round-up and repack for heading north to do a visit to the job prospect and Jeremy's parent's who live about 1.5 hours from there. It's been a fun whirlwind, but we are glad to be home and back into our normal rhythm.