Monday, August 22, 2016

Bucket List Item # 20 - Nashville with Mom

What do I love more than a list?  Marking things off my list . . . isn't that why us type A personalities make them?  I'm excited to share another 50 before Fifty Bucket list item!  

This was actually the first one to be completed on my list.  I know it has taken me way too long to write about it, but I sort of have an excuse . . . I'll explain at the end!  Oh, and I also need to get this done because I'm accomplishing at least two more bucket list items later this week!  So exciting!!!
My mom came for a visit in early April and after spending a week with the family, we took off for our own little mini vacation to Nashville.  I've been to Nashville a couple of times before, and the town just makes me think of my mom.  

I grew up listening to country music, watching Hee Haw and with a dad who wore cowboy boots and drove a big truck.  Let me just say, I could get used to being in Nashville.  In order to enhance your experience, I think you need to listen to this song while you read.  I'll explain later!
It would appear that it is difficult for me to just drive to my actual destination without making a roadside attraction stop.  So how about a boozy tour first thing in the morning at the George Dickel Distillery
It was a bit off the path, but worth the extra time.  Neither mom nor I drink whiskey, but it's fun to see the process of how it's made.  A cool fact about George Dickel is that it's still all hand made . . . there weren't even computers in the actual Distillery.  And the area was absolutely gorgeous!
On the way back to the interstate, I took mom to the cutest little town called Bell Buckle, TN.  
We browsed some little antique shops and had a delicious southern lunch at the Bell Buckle Cafe . . . here's some terrible photos to document the noms and cute shops.
I'm a detailed planner so we had to hit a couple tourist stop before they closed prior to checking into our hotel.  First stop was the historical Ryman Auditorium.  
Mom has always loved country music so of course she'd want to see the "mother church of country music!"  We first watched a great interactive movie and were then able to leisurely check out the main exhibits.  The back stage tickets were sold out for the day . . . bummer.  I honestly think this is overpriced for what you get, but it's kind of a must see in Nashville so it is what it is.  I'd really love to see a concert here though . . . it would be a very intimate venue, and there's not a bad seat in the house.  

Next stop was the Antique Archaeology Nashville store.  My mom loves to watch the show American Pickers so this was a must see on our tour de Nashville.  She now has me watching that show, and I have way too many accumulated on my DVR.
I warned her this was a bit of a letdown, but said we should do it anyway . . . just so she could agree.  And she did.  Although it is fun to see things they picked on TV in the store, so there's that.  

We had to get ready for our Grand Ole Opry show so we headed to our hotel to check in . . . the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  This is where I always stay in Nashville.  It's simply beautiful . . . the indoor gardens and water features are so tranquil . . . the huge crowds of people, not so much.  
Did I mention my mom hates to pose for pictures?  I'm not a huge fan myself . . . apparently it's genetic.  But seriously, doesn't she look simply amazing for 73 years old?  

The most exciting adventure of our trip was a visit to the Grand Ole Opry!  Obviously this is a country music staple.  It's so easy to just hop a bus from the Gaylord, and it takes you right to the Grand Ole Opry House!
It was chilly and windy the night we were there so we didn't linger outside.  We checked out the shops, and mom bought a poster to remember the night!
Not having listened to country music really since I was a kid, I wasn't too familiar with the acts for the evening, but mama was and she was most excited to see Josh Turner.  
Now I know why!  Holy Moly his voice.  Did you listen to that song above?  This handsome, young, thin fellow has the deepest, strongest voice.  He just seemed so kind and down to earth  . . . that's what I love about country music artists . . . no fuss, no muss.  Just gold old country boys.  And boots.  I do love some cowboy boots on a man, but I digress.

I wanted to do the after show backstage tour, but it was sold out so we opted to do one first thing in the morning since it was so close to us!
I love a tour, and I think the one at the Grand Ole Opry is great!  It's fun to hear the history and see where "the magic happens" behind the scenes.  Mom really enjoyed it as well!
She also loves the show Nashville which is filmed at the studios located at the Opry so that was cool too.
I think it's exciting to see the dressing rooms . . . there are several.  Not sure how they determine who goes where, but I'd be happy with any of them . . . check out these fun ones! 
The best part is getting to go on stage and feel like a star . . . or maybe that's just me!  I do love the history behind the show, and the wooden circle that came over from the Ryman.  It was submerged in the terrible flood of 2010 but was fully restored.  Opry artists have been standing on that historic piece of stage for over 7 decades . . . that's pretty cool.  
We then headed for a walk down the infamous Broadway and made our way to the Johnny Cash Museum.  It was crowded for sure, but it wasn't a very big place.  If you love Johnny Cash, it's worth a visit.  My dad loved Johnny Cash so I grew up listening to his music and enjoyed the walk down memory lane.  
There's some great people watching in downtown Nashville . . . and some great picture spots!  "Hey mom, stand right there!"  She was clearly thrilled about it.
Lunchtime arrived so we had to make a decision on where to get some grub.  I see a place I've never been and think it will be perfect for my mom . . . as I laugh inside.  
Honestly my mom is game for whatever.  That is one, among many, of the things I love about her. She just goes with the flow.  So we sidle up to the bar . . . apparently midday is not the high time as we were basically the only ones in there.  Shocker, I know.  
Mom ordered her ever present Diet Coke . . . Cheers!  As you can imagine, the food was terrible, but the bartender was a sweet girl and the music was fabulous!  And now we get to say we've been there . . . nobody needs to know it was empty and there wasn't any bar dancing!
I was most excited about our adventure for the afternoon . . . because clearly I'm so classy.  We were taking a Nash Trash Tour on the infamous pink bus!!!  
The "original" tour was sold out so we got to enjoy the Pip's Music Row Confidential option!   Meet Steve Pippen, or Pip!
He was such a lovely gentleman with so much history and knowledge of the Nashville music scene! Of course I sat right in the front so I could hear all the details!  
We stopped during the tour at a cool restaurant called The Row and enjoyed a bus break and a little mid day "snack!"  It was so cool that I brought mom back here for dinner that night!
They seriously had one of the best margaritas ever, and the hamburger with pimento cheese was so good!  We were tired so we headed back to the hotel to rest after dinner!  

We checked out the next morning and headed over to the Country Music Hall of Fame!  This place is fabulous and is such a cool museum.  I was excited to bring mom here.  We had a nice time browsing, but we were ready to head home.  
So here's where life got interesting for us.  I noticed things just seemed off with my mom . . . in fact she seemed more low key than usual the whole trip.  I even wondered if these trips were just too much for her to handle any more.  On the walk back to our car, she got super winded just walking up one city block . . . in fact, we had to stop to let her catch her breath.  

We make it back to Georgia Monday afternoon and mom left to head home to Virginia the next day.  I talked to her husband after she made it home, and he said the drive had been hard on her. Apparently she rested most of the following day and was not herself.    

Well that night mom accidentally called me on her way up the stairs to her bedroom . . . she had the phone in her hand climbing the steps. She could hardly breath.  I freaked out and tried to get her to go to the ER, but she refused because it was late.  We hung up and I called her husband on the home phone to make sure he kept an eye on her and got her to the doctor the next day.  

It turns out my mom had multiple blood clots in her lungs and one in her leg.  You guys.  I thought my heart was going to fall out of my chest.  No wonder she hadn't been acting like herself. Thankfully she was safe and sound at the hospital and was going to be fine.  I hate that I couldn't be there for her . . . that's the worst part about living far away.  

I'm happy to report that she is doing fabulous now!  Praise the sweet baby Jesus.  Her parting gift from the hospital was a life long supply of blood thinners.  She's not a big medicine taker so she wasn't excited about this, but if it keeps her safe and sound, so be it.  

So needless to say, mom having health struggles rocked my world.  She is so good to me and my family.  She's the best listener . . . I can talk to her about anything and she always understands. She's the least judgmental person I know.  She truly is my friend.  I am ever so thankful we get to take our adventures together, and I'm looking forward to the next one. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Catching up on things . . .

I can't say the weekend was much to write about so I thought I'd catch up on the happenings at the Getz homestead the past couple of weeks.  
Let's see . . . I'll start with the oldest.  He recovered like a boss from his frenectomy . . . he didn't use any pain meds and never complained about the bandage that had to stay wedged between his braces and top gum for 8 days.  He was happy to have it out though!
I cannot resist this kid . . . he is so smart and funny.  He has me cracking up on the regular!
Cross Country practice started the first day of school . . . they don't mess around in high school sports apparently.  I do love that he just stays after, and I go get him between 5 and 5:30 every day . . . we've never had that because our middle schools don't have sports teams.  

Any way, that kid comes home hungry, hot and tired.  He eats a snack, showers and then starts on homework until dinner.  His classes are no joke either . . . he's got Biotechnology, Geometry, Leadership and World Geography.  Yeah, hope he doesn't need any help with homework because I'm out.  
Time trials were this past week so we went to get some new running shoes, and I finally caved to the cross country spikes.  His school colors are orange and blue so these were perfect!  
Ryan never ask for anything . . . if he wants new shoes, he gets new shoes.
We were so proud of his showing at the time trials . . . he was the 15th boy to cross the finish line. Top 10 run varsity at the next race so 15th was pretty awesome for a freshman!  Why yes, I'm bragging on my kid, thank you very much!!!  
Don't you just love action photos? 
This munchkin . . . she has decided instead of horseback riding, she wants to do dance this year.  I am not a dance mom.  I encouraged her to try different sports, but she held firm to her wish to dance.  So, she's taking ballet, jazz and tap.  
While I'm not a dance mom, I used to want to take dance as a kid but never got the chance.  I'm glad she has the chance.
I suppose the good news is that it's all on the same day, and she has a friend in each class so if she's happy, I'm happy.  Oh, and she has to do her own hair bun . . . I'm also useless for that kind of mom task.  

I am a super proud mom and Girl Scout leader because all my (not so) little Junior scouts bridged up to Cadettes.  
The rainbow decor relates to themes of the Girl Scout sign and is used in bridging ceremonies.  Just FYI.  (Winky face)
I had nine girls earn the Bronze Award this past year which is the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn.  Amanda and I are entering our 7th year of Girl Scouts together.  I love that I now have 11 girls in my troop . . . especially during middle school years.  
This girl . . . always up for something new and fun!  
And I need to give a shout out to my awesome co-leaders, Lake and Stacey, and their daughters who have stuck with us for this amazing journey.  Plus Lake has mad cake making skills . . . I didn't have to pay a baker for this piece of art!!  Fabulous!
The icing cracked with the humidity . . . man it was HOT!
My Kyle . . . he is trying lacrosse this fall.  This gives me pause because seriously, that sport is rough.  He hasn't started yet so no craptastic action photos of him . . . yes, I'm aware I need to do a better job with my picture taking but well, I'm lazy.  Iphone camera for the win.  Ain't nobody got time to carry around a fancy camera.  
"Why are you taking a picture mom?"
Kyle's current claim to fame is Zeus' favorite litter mate.  He always holds Zeus on our rides to school since we are trying to get him used to the car.  But when Kyle gets home, game on.  That puppy sees Kyle and kicks it into high gear. 
I can't even with this picture . . . makes me all melty.
He chases, nips and tugs his clothes like a boss.  Kyle just laughs and keeps playing.  I keep trying to remind him that this may not be the best strategy for the future, but he's a rough and tumble boy playing with his dog . . . so I let it go.  Probably not my best mothering choice.  Speaking of bad moms . . . 
Take that Jessalyn!  (Inside joke)
I joined a fun group of ladies for a night out to enjoy the Bad Moms movie!  It is crass, completely inappropriate and hysterical.  So I totally recommend you go see it with friends!
Cheers . . . to bad moms who day drink while the kids are at school!
And I also condone day drinking with friends . . . as long as you're not driving and will be sober when the kids get home.  Technically I don't do this often, but once in awhile to celebrate a friend's birthday is okay.  Right?  Yes, that's what I'm telling myself!

I may actually need to start day drinking to deal with being a puppy owner.  Y'all, I forgot how much work this was.  I brought home this shy, quiet little puppy who has decided he would like to be the boss . . . of everybody.  Sir, no sir.  
Confession:  This was after the day drinking . . . the mid afternoon nap.  
I mean for reals, he is cute.  God knew that puppies would have to be cute, or they would get voted off the family island in a matter of time.  He is so bitey.  Gah.  

He loves to steal my dirty (eeewww) laundry and wrap himself all up in it . . . and then he rolls around happier than a clam.  
Some modesty, please.
For the record, that's just shorts and a t-shirt.
But then he sleeps so sweetly with me on the bed, and I forget his shortcomings.  Would you just look at him?
Stop with the arms . . . and the pointy nose . . . just all of it.  I can't stop.  Won't stop.
So we try to tire him out.  I'm a firm believer in that a naughty puppy is a bored puppy.  We have started walking around the block a few times a day.  Amanda had him running laps around a friend's backyard . . . to the point where he would nose dive in exhaustion.  So funny!
I know this phase won't last forever . . . at least that's what I tell myself at 6:30 in the morning . . . on a Saturday . . . when we are up playing together.  And then I say to myself, "I paid for this?"  Ha!

I feel like I need to redeem Abby's reputation after my last post and her rather 'toothy grin.'  She is an absolute sweetheart.  Well, to people.  She may try to eat small dogs for snacks, and she'd be like a dirty street fighter with any other dog.  But with people.  She's a lover.  And she really does like Zeus . . . most of the time.  Could they look any more different?  The ears . . . the midsections . . . the tails.  I heart them so much.
Does anyone else think Zeus looks like a cat?
Well, dogs and kids.  Kids and dogs.  That's my life.  Boring? Not to me because I know one day I WILL be bored and wishing I had kids and a puppy at home again.  
Linking up with Biana because it's more fun that way!  As we say, peace out Girl Scout.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Back to school!

Stop the madness . . . the first day of school here in Georgia was August 1st.  My babies are off to new adventures.

My Ryan is a freshman in high school . . . and I can't even believe I just typed that.  
It'll be fun to see how much both have grown at the end of the year!
He truly makes it all look so easy . . . he never waivers in his calm demeanor and quiet determination.  He's always had to pave his own way, considering he's the oldest.  He assures me he's "got this" which puts my heart at ease.  And the best part . . . he always does.  

He had his first Cross Country practice yesterday after school.  I picked him up hot and hungry. He came home, gulped down some snacks, showered, ate dinner and got right on his homework.  So very proud.  

I asked Kyle to watch the puppy while I took Ryan to school, since high school starts before middle school.  I got home, and Kyle says he got the best video ever.  He wasn't kidding.  I could watch this all day, every day and still laugh my booty off.  
I swear that Abby and Zeus get along.  He may have a little more energy in the morning that she does so she is not ready to play so early.  I mean for reals, at least let a girl have her coffee first.  

My Kyle had the easy first day of school this year . . . same school except now he's an upperclassman in the 8th grade.  However, he didn't make the easiest morning since I made him change his shirt three times, chased him down to brush his hair and forced him to eat something. Mean mom alert!  We chatted about it last night, and things were much easier today.  Thank you baby Jesus.  Gotta love that boy.
Too bad the sun was glaring in their faces . . . makes for an awkward look!
As for my Amanda, she was off to her first day of middle school in 6th grade.  She was so excited. She was bored of summer and ready to see her friends and finally be out of elementary school. She's so independent . . . I dropped them off, and she never looked back!

I'm happy to report everyone had awesome first days and left with smiles this morning.  I suspect everyone will be exhausted come Friday . . . including me!

I'm grateful my kids didn't want much as far as back to school purchases.  They were all fine with their old backpacks and lunchboxes.  However, everyone likes a new school sneaker.  Haircuts and shoe shopping make it feel like school is really happening.  Check out these swaggy new kicks. 
We tease Ryan about his '50 shades of gray' - the only color shoe he tolerates.
Kyle loves them bright . . . blue or yellow will do.
Amanda likes them girly.
Check.  Check.  And check.
I am ever so grateful that my friend Shelly has a back to school brunch every year on the first day of school.  Otherwise I'm pretty sure I would just come home and cry.  In fact, I've done that in years past so yeah, I look forward to this.  
Love, love, love these ladies!!  
She generously opens her home to everyone, and I get to see so many of my friends in one place . . . makes a girl happy!  Thank you Shelly for being such a rock star . . . and great friend!

Somebody also turned 14 weeks old yesterday and got another round of puppy shots!  That sweet, shy, timid little puppy has been replaced with a super fun, playful, ball of energy that likes to nibble, steal and stay close to his mama. 
My Petey doorstop is where I take his picture every Monday . . . one day I'm going to realize he's all grown up,
and I want to make sure I have lots of pictures!
I die of love for him.  Abby is doing just fine . . . she gets lots of love and more chew bones and walks thanks to the little guy.  He did awesome at the vet and charmed everyone since I carried him like he was a baby.  I didn't want him to touch the dirty vet floors until he has his last round of shots this month.   Hello crazy.  
He was 18.5 pounds and healthy!  He's tall and skinny with long legs.  We've noticed he is getting more tan and losing some of his black coloring.  We are trying hard to enforce the rules . . . not allowed on the couch and not sleeping in our bed.  He has discovered a loophole . . . he can hang out on our bed, but he has to sleep in his crate when it's lights off.  How can I resist this little nugget?  
He is so easy to put in his crate . . . we just tell him night night, and he sleeps in there all night long. He loses his mind with excitement when I get him out . . . he sometimes even wakes the kids up with his howls of joy.  Dogs are the best for being so happy to see you . . . they can make anyone feel good! 

Okay . . . off to mark some items off the to do list and tidy up this house!  Happy Tuesday everyone!