Wednesday I flew to Nashville, arriving early in the afternoon. My sister lives in Murfreesboro, south of Nashville, and my Mom had driven up so they were both there for a tearful welcome. I think we had all promised ourselves we wouldn't cry, but since it had been over a year....well we didn't quite manage to stay dry eyed.
After a dinner of pizza, and sitting up late visiting, we got a good night's sleep and then hit Franklin, TN to shop some more. I've always loved the little shops on the square and so we make it a point to go when we can. Actually I just have to say that shopping in Murfreesboro and Franklin is always so much fun! Probably its just because I'm doing it with Mom and Meagan, but they do have some great stores, and after my shopping in Montana experiences (and I don't mean to criticize Montana here, but its seriously lacking for shopping when you compare it to Nashville) I had a hard time restraining myself and being frugal.
Thursday night it was off to Ooltewah and "home." Dinner at my Dad's restaurant, Couch's BBQ. I didn't get a picture, but if you get to the Chattanooga area, its worth the little drive to Ooltewah to eat there! Email me for directions if you need them! Its been in our family since 1946 and one of my favorite places to eat, not just because I'm partial to it for obvious reasons, but because its that good!
Friday I met my friend Angela for breakfast and got to meet her little girl Rachel finally. She's almost a year old and I'd not introduced myself to her yet. What a doll! Check out Angela's blog here for a look at this precious family and their Life in Northern Kentucky.
Afterwards, I met Mom and Meagan for an errand running trip, and then we went to Ringgold, GA, just across the border from Chattanooga, and met my sister-in-law (also named Sarah) and niece, Bentlee, for tea. Nothing like a ladies tea party....always so much fun!
Chris and his daughter, Lily, arrived in Ooltewah Friday evening just in time for dinner, again at Couch's BBQ of course. I had to stock up on it! Then we all went home and the little girls played in the pool while we visited and watched them play.
These two silly girls are both 5, just 6 months apart, and hit it off as great friends the first time they met. This visit, they spontaneously nick named each other "Lil" and "Bent," and the names stuck.
Saturday, the 4th of July! What a great day! I only wish there was more done to emphasize why we celebrate the 4th. Its turned into a party day, but so little attention is given to why we even get to party! So....Happy Birthday America...just a few days late. I visited with my grandparents that morning, then we hung out at the pool ALL day long. I got burned of course. These poor legs haven't seen much of the sun since moving to the Big Sky country! But...it was worth it! That afternoon family and friends started trickling in. I got to see just about everyone without having to travel from place to place. It was great. Dad grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. My uncle fried fish he and Dad had caught on a fishing trip, and there was SO much food! Well it wouldn't be a southern get together if there wasn't enough food to make everyone sick! And then we topped it all off with three flavors of home made ice cream not to mention several pies, etc, etc! There was fishing, horse shoe throwing, bad mitten, swimming, visiting, laughing, and then fireworks! Dad had stocked up, and then my cousin and his friend came from Oklahoma City with a trunk full! We had quite a show in our own yard! It was great!
Sunday we relaxed and visited. My brother and his wife stayed till afternoon then had to go to a pool party. Meagan, Chris and Lily headed back to Murfreesboro that evening, and Mom, Dad, and I cleaned up a little and then kicked back some more.
Monday Mom and I headed north to Murfreesboro where we met Meagan for lunch and did a little more shopping. Then it was off to the airport and back to Montana where I arrived at 10:30 at night, tired, but fulfilled and happy to be home, wishing that everyone had come with me!
While I was partying in TN, Malcolm was in Baker with his parents and sister. They had their own celebration at some friends house and then went to Buffalo, SD for the fireworks out at the lake. The mares have started foaling, so Malcolm took a few pictures for me so I could see the new babies.
Since Monday we've been doing more yard work. Its been so fun. And for an anniversary gift to each other we bought some porch furniture. It arrived Friday and we've spent every spare moment out there sitting. Its great!
Back to work this morning. We left a couple hours ago, and are loading in Billings. How convenient! We're delivering in Nebraska, near Kearney, in the morning.
It was a great two week celebration. I so much enjoyed the special time with my family, and it was so hard to leave, even knowing I was coming home to Malcolm and the girls. My heart continues to be torn in two directions. When I left Nashville I was convinced that we needed to move back. But as soon as I landed in Billings and walked out into the cool sage infused wind, I was overcome with love for this place too! So the internal war wages on...how to choose one over the other!
Four weeks out, and then we have to come home mid-August to pick up the new truck! That will be exciting. And then we will be coming back in a few more weeks because my parents are coming to visit the first week of October! I am really really pumped about that! Can't wait to share Montana with them!
Obviously this was one heck of a nut shell! I tend to like the larger nut shells...hope you don't mind!