We scooted down to Chattanooga on Saturday for Grace and Jake’s birthday party. These children belong to some of our favorite people, so not only did the kids get to play together but I got some Amy time. As a rule, spend as much time as you can with people who make you laugh. ♥
I was in Chattanooga yesterday for a memorial service and found that I had a little extra time to drive around the city we used to call home. While still very nostalgic, this place isn’t home anymore. It’s where Chuck and I met, where we graduated high school, where we got married and where we started a family. It’s the city where so many of our major decisions were made. And while I can pinpoint a slew of little special spots in Chattanooga that hold a sweet memory for me, home is where we are now. This city, this house, these people. It feels good and right and long term.
Happy Weekend to you, and Go Vols!
When a hotel room costs only $8, it’s kind of a waste to not stay in it. Actually, the hotel room was free. We paid $8 for overnight parking downtown. (Chuck’s hotel points covered the rest.)
So off we went to Chattanooga for a whirlwind Halloween night. We trick-or-treated with Ethan and Sidney and enjoyed a quick swim afterward in the hotel’s heated saltwater pool. The kiddos zonked out after many failed attempts to dig through their candy sacks.
Guess who was tuckered out after the big night?
This morning, since we didn’t have anywhere else to be, Chuck and I ran (separately) through downtown Chattanooga. It was a chilly morning, a little foggy, but otherwise perfect for a jog through our old stomping grounds. Once we were cleaned up, we took the boys for a walk around town and headed to lunch. Major props to the city planners because Chattanooga is more beautiful than it’s ever been.
After lunch, we headed home to the mountains. If I haven’t said it before, or in case you weren’t sure, I am very, very, very happy to be in east Tennessee again.
We left for Chattanooga Friday afternoon and I have to say – it was the most amazing weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect in the Tennessee Valley, which meant nearly everything was done outside. Playgrounds, grilling out, and a fabulous run along the Riverpark Saturday morning. (Oh how I’ve missed that!) But what made it especially wonderful was everyone we got to see.
Friday night Chuck and I stole away for dinner (at J Alexander’s) and a movie (Limitless at the Majestic), which we haven’t done in, oh, say a year or two. Seriously. After we reintroduced ourselves, we had a good time – especially in the VIP theater room. Recliners, drink menus, waiters, the whole bit. I never realized how fun it would be to watch a movie while sitting in a recliner. I’m sold.
Afterwards we drove around North Chattanooga to see what’s changed, what’s new and what’s still the same. Why oh why didn’t we buy a house in North Chattanooga all those years ago? What used to be the questionable, up-and-coming part of town 12 or 15 years ago has become the hipster epicenter with gorgeous remodeled craftsman homes, walkability to restaurants and entertainment and an amazing view of the cityscape and river. I went for a run Saturday morning and parked midway down the Riverpark so I could run towards downtown. It’s the same pathway I trained on for six half marathons and one full, 26-mile race, and it was just as beautiful as ever.
We spent Saturday afternoon at Matt and Amy’s house, our Fred and Ethel Mertz, and I also got some one-on-one Amy time Sunday morning for coffee and shopping. Later in the afternoon, Jeremy and I scooted off to another park to meet his biological aunt, uncle and cousin, which is something we discussed prior to arranging. (More on that later.) Jeremy was thrilled to meet them and I was happy to see him happy. Here’s a snapshot of us waiting for them at the playground.
Saturday night was a long overdue dinner with Karin, and Sunday morning was coffee with Amy followed by lunch with Kathryn (my high school bestie). When it was all over, I bid a sweet farewell to Chattanooga and got back on the road towards the Foothills. (Chuck and the boys left for Knoxville with Bill that morning.) I probably smiled the entire way home. This weekend was just the recharge I needed.
While Chattanooga is a really great town, I’m happy to be home in the mountains. It’s hard to explain how a place you’ve never lived before feels like home, but that’s exactly what’s happened. Like I told my dad on the phone a few weeks ago – as an Army brat, home was wherever the Army sent us, and after Dad retired, home was wherever my parents lived. I’ve never had an actual hometown. Until now.
Chuck didn’t take many photos while the boys were in Chattanooga last week, but the ones he did take were really good. This one in particular is worth posting. What is especially sweet is that Jackson caught his first-ever fish with his Papaw, and while that memory may or may not stick in my four-year-old’s mind, it will certainly stay in Bill’s.