Sunday, January 1, 2017

Christmas in the new south

Happy new year everybody!

We're back in IL after spending a pleasant Christmas break with Jill's family in Nashville.  Uncle Matt's family has yet to find a new house after selling theirs just a few weeks ago, so we all stayed together at Grandpa and Grandma's house. 
(Before we left, our good friend Fereshteh stopped by for a visit.)

We all took a house hunting trip together, but didn't find 'the one'.   Interestingly to me, this adventure demonstrated a strong use case for cell phones.  The realtor gave us the address of the next house only after visiting the previous house.  Without a very detailed map (the search area was HUGE), finding the next house would have been very difficult.  However, it didn't matter because:
1.  I didn't drive (we rode with Jill's parents and the kids were with Uncle Matt)
2.  Since we were on mostly rural roads, following the realtor posed no difficulties.
But, hey, that was a real-life use case for a cell phone (besides compulsively checking social media)!  And yet, I'm still not planning to get one soon.

 Once in a great while, I feel the itch to visit an actual city.  So we braved the traffic and terrors of downtown Nashville for a day.  I did a quick search for interesting things to see and had the Belmont mansion (on the campus of Belmont U) and the Downtown Presbyterian church.  Clara didn't want to see anything, and Janny wanted to walk along the river and throw rocks into it.  So we started with the river and skipped Belmont (too far to walk from downtown).

We parked near the football stadium and walked over the  pedestrian bridge to town.  Clara was still cool on the idea of the trip until we stopped at a cafe for muffins (chocolate for Janny and blueberry for Clara).  Then Clara was happy.  Phew!  Maybe cities aren't so bad after all.

The church had an 'out to lunch' sign, so we walked around a bit more, eventually coming upon the really nice (and free!) Tennessee museum.  Clara and I played checkers (I crushed her) in the play area.  There are some really excellent paintings along with artifacts from the frontier settlers.

The Presbyterian church office worker was back at his desk and led us to the sanctuary.  The current building is the 3rd version (the first two had burned down) and was constructed around 1850 or so.  After the Union soldiers conquered Nashville, they used it as a hospital during the Civil War.  A few older photos from outside show an isolated building, whereas now it is dwarfed by the neighboring skyscrapers.
I think Enoch and Ricky won Christmas present opening because they got pocket knives.  So far only one of them has needed a band-aid.

I recently implemented 'no dessert Tuesday', which really means no dessert for anyone in the family after dinner on Tuesdays.  I am very frustrated by the kids' eating habits.  They are irritatingly picky and generally eat as little at lunch and dinner as possible so as to eat much dessert.  I'm happy to report that the kids enjoy the idea, sort of.  My theory is that living under constraints (even an arbitrary one like this) resonates with our spirits.  It feels right and is right.

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