Hey, everybody. I hope you had a great holiday weekend. We had a busy one...but a great one. We started our STAYCATION on Friday, the 4th. This is our vacation week. We couldn't really go anywhere this year, so we are taking in some things in this area that we have never done before. And we are spending a lot of time doing absolutely nothing...together.
On a side note I am becoming pretty stinkin' good at MarioKart on our Wii. You don't want to mess with me in Mushroom Gorge.
So, our 4th of July began slowly. We slept in and enjoyed the morning. The kids spent their morning much like I did when I was a kid...chillin' out playing games on a Macbook.
After breakfast, we decided it was time for a family activity. So we made cupcakes.
We are nothing if not good posers.
We finally got ourselves in gear, piled in the car, and headed to Nashville. We went to the Frist Center For Visual Arts. Fancy us. We went on July 4th because kids get in free (my wife has done some massive homework for this STAYCATION).
They had fun things to do for the kids. Which was good...because the art...well, lovely though it was, started to all run together for the 5 year old. And, well, everybody else. What's a Clampet to do.
Fun art times at the museum...
We finished at the Frist around 5:30 or 6pm. Since we were already downtown, we decided to stay down there and enjoy the fireworks show with the Nashville Symphony at the RiverFront, which started at 9:30.
As we were walking out of the Frist Center, we walked by the cafe they have there in the museum. We have heard really good things about it. But at that point, I already had my heart set on Jack's Barbecue, which is downtown, right by the RiverFront. Mmmmm. I was so dreaming about that delicious food. SO, because she is such a wonderful woman and wife, Angela gave up a nice quiet, no-wait place that uses words like pesto, pannini and veranda for a loud place that uses words like pork shoulder and smoky, names their sauces after southern states, and has this:
She is a mighty good woman. But it turns out her generosity may have been ill-advised. We had to move our car out of the Frist parking lot. So we headed down toward the river. Big mistake. Apparently this fireworks show is a big deal. And apparently people plan to go there months in advance. And apparently they come with gear and all manner of food and lounging products. And apparently the shut down roads for such an event. And apparently thousands upon thousands of people were pouring into downtown for said event...all while we were leisurely enjoying the art.
So, We pulled into the first parking lot we came to, paid 5 million dollars to park there, and headed to Jack's. On the way, the kids were so excited to see the Batman building up close (they had only seen it from far away all these years...it looks so cool and ominous from the interstate).
You can't really tell from this picture why everybody in Nashville calls it the Batman building. But it just looks like a Batman building. From a distance. In the dark.
We had to wait in line for an hour at Jack's. I am sure my sweet baby thought about how close she was to a peaceful pannini on the veranda at the art center more than once while we waited. But she never complained. Not even once.
I sent Jack in to scout out a table for us (the line was all the way out the door and down the street). He found one pretty quickly...so the family got to sit and wait while I waited in line for our food.
People, the Jack's Barbecue does not disappoint. I am still thinking about it today. The sauces! Especially St. Louis and Texas. Mmmmm. The smoked chicken. It makes me want to cry. All of the Cottrells were so happy eating there. Even Angela...she had no veranda regrets. It rocked our 4th.
After we ate, we waddled out of the restaurant and began to try to find a place to sit and watch the fireworks. By this time, it was almost 9, so we wouldn't have to wait for long. There were so many people, we could not even get to a place to even lay our eyes on the symphony. But that was ok. We would still have an amazing seat for the fireworks. Since they are, you know...in the sky.
I was so proud of Nashville that night. The fireworks show was nothing short of amazing. We took pictures, which of course don't do fireworks justice.
And only in Nashville will there be a big neon guitar poking up in the bottom of your fireworks pictures.
We had an awesome time. I had a tender moment when my eldest looked over at me and said, "If these fireworks are this awesome, imagine how great God's fireworks will be in heaven." True dat.
We even had a great time in the traffic gridlock that we were stuck in for an hour, trying to get out of downtown. That's such a good time to surf around the radio stations and laugh at old songs. It's also a good time to find out that your wife sang in a band in 7th grade called DESTINY, with whom she did two shows (in the elementary school band room) and sang two songs: Heartbreaker and Hit Me With Your Best Shot.
Pause and reflect.
We were exhausted by the time we got home.
But what a great day it was. Swords, tattoos, pork shoulders, Van Gogh, and Pat Benetar...all in one day. And this was just DAY 1 of our STAYCATION!