We're back from our trip to Tennessee, and completely exhausted. Feel like we've been living in the car for the past two weeks, driving the twelve hours it takes to get to my parents' place near Knoxville, and then spending the rest of our vacation driving all over East Tennessee visiting relatives and friends. All the driving was a bit stressful this year as we did a lot more of it than we usually do when we visit. Despite the grouchiness and exhaustion, it was so wonderful seeing everyone again. We did A LOT in two weeks and saw a lot of people in that time as well. It will take me several posts to tell it all. But first, I should warn you...
This post, and most of the posts to come, will be chock-full of photos because one of my Christmas gifts from Mr. T was a Nikon D3100 digital SLR camera, and I spent half of our Christmas vacation playing with it.
The first half of our vacation was captured with my crappy point and shoot. Sorry you have to suffer through more of those pictures again. I'm sure everyone agrees it was high time I had a better camera. I am in-love with this camera and actually get a fluttery feeling in my stomach when I take photos with it. It'll take me a couple of years to figure out all the settings, and feel confident functioning in manual mode, but I have a 364 page Dummies book to help.
Here are just a few of the highlights of our trip...
* Bristol Motor Speedway in lights, because even though we're not into Nascar, nothing says TN Christmas like a million lights around a racetrack. Mammaw took us to the Speedway last year as well and we had the best time. I think we'll make it a Christmas tradition.
It takes awhile to drive through all the lights but here's just some of what you see when you do...
The tour winds up on the actual racetrack, which is so exciting to drive on, and ends with a Christmas carnival village in the middle of the track, where we had fun on the carousel, roasted marshmallows and rode lots of rides.
* My Mom's Birthday is the day after Christmas and it always gets mixed up in the holiday shuffle. Even though we try our best to make it a special day for her, with birthday wrapping instead of Christmas paper and a dinner somewhere, it's never the birthday I think she deserves.
This year we celebrated at Red Lobster, where Mr. S tried his first lobster. He didn't care for the meat or the butter sauce but preferred the antenna instead.
* Christmas with the Copeland Clan was so much fun this year. We have two new babies in the family. My cousins Josh and Joe have a baby girl each; Olivia and Bianca were born a week a part and are about three months old now. We had a big Christmas Eve get-together at my Aunt Nora and Uncle Dan's house. Most of the cousins, aunts and uncles were there. Even though we were missing a few people, we still had a houseful. It was wonderful catching up with everyone again.
* We had a white Christmas. Actual snow on Christmas day! This is what we woke up to at my parents' place:
And then a day later in Elizabethton at T's Mom's place we were hit with 13 more inches of snow:
After the snow cleared we got out and went antique shopping in Elizabethton's downtown, where I snapped this picture of the covered bridge:
* Even though I don't have any photos of it, we had a wonderful time visiting with JCP Library friends. Everyone looked fabulous, and it was so great talking to and seeing everyone that T and I completely lost track of time and were late getting back to his mom's place.
And now we're back in New Jersey, and there are snow drifts as tall as me from the big storm the Northeast got while we were in Tennessee. I go back to work tomorrow, and will spend the next month going through and editing all the photos we took in Tennessee. Many more posts to come.
Tennessee friends and family--we miss you already.