Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Alabama Trip 2014: Installment 2

My how the time flies.  One more day in 2014, and I'm still updating about our Alabama trip a month ago!  Nevermind all the fun stuff that's occurred since we've been back!  Like Christmas...  Ah, but I'll get there...  Eventually ;).

So, after our awesome Scrubs party and a night at April and Greg's (with a delicious breakfast cooked by April on that Saturday morning), we headed to Dothan around noon on Saturday.  The drive is about 3 hours.  We made good time.  Lynnaea did pretty well for the most part, but started melting down inconsolably around Midland City.  So we stopped at Publix to pick up some groceries and allow her a little break from the car.
We reached my dad's house around 4:30.  He was thrilled to see us and re-meet his little grand-daughter.  Like usual, she took a bit of time to warm up.  But before long, she was running all over the house and trying to get into all his goodies laying about (and by goodies, I mean tools, etc, not food ;)). 
Because it was so cold there this year (an rather unseasonable freezing snap!), Lynnaea slept between me and Jeremy while we were at my dad's, to make sure she stayed warm enough.  Let's just say it wasn't the most comfortable sleeping arrangement for the grown-ups.  I think Lynnaea, on the other hand, slept just fine!

We attended church with Dothan 2nd Ward and were able to see many friends and acquaintances.  It was nice to be back there -- though much has changed over the years (people, is what I mean...  Lots of faces I didn't recognize).  But I guess that happens as life moves forward for everyone.

On Monday, we met up with my dear friend Stacy and her cute son for some pictures at the Botanical Gardens.  Just a few quick shots.  And a chance for Lynnaea to run around outside and drink the water out of the fountain.  Gross.  She's still alive, so I assume she either didn't drink enough to catch anything, or it was better than it looked.  (I swear, it amazes me children ever survive to adulthood!)  Naturally it ended up being a warmish, muggy day, so my choice of sweater was not the best...  We continued our visit with Stacy at Panera Bread.  Over some delicious mac and cheese.  Fortunately, they have Panera bread locally here...  Because I have a sudden hankering for that mac and cheese.  
On Tuesday, Lynnaea and I headed out to Troy Dothan to visit Donna.  It was a nasty drizzly day, but that sort of thing doesn't keep a munchkin down!  She was all about sitting in the swing and swinging.  And running through the puddles and wet grass.  Then we joined Donna for lunch at Cheddar's and enjoyed some yummy chicken fingers, french fries, and some mac and cheese which doesn't hold a candle to Panera's.  Not even a flicker.  It was a lovely visit with Donna.  I love that we are able to see each other every now and again when I visit -- or on the off chance she comes to Seattle!  (Hey, it's happened once -- in 2009 -- so it's possible ;)).  Around 3:00, Lynnaea (who took a 20 minute nap in the car) and I met up with Anne at Atlanta Bread Company and enjoyed a little dessert.  That was another wonderful visit.  I love meeting up with the dear friends I've had for ages.  Yes, life changes for all of us.  But there are still those ties, and it's wonderful to sit and visit with long-time friends.  Even if only for a short while.  On Tuesday night, after dinner, my dad, Jeremy, Lynnaea, and I watched some of Fantasia.  We didn't make it all the way through, as Lynnaea's attention span doesn't last that long.  But she enjoyed the parts she watched, and it was nice to do that as a family.

Wednesday was a nice day, and Lynnaea and enjoyed the must-have-when-in-Dothan roast beef sub from Italian Express!  We met up with Kristin there.  Oh my goodness.  My only complaint is that, like with everywhere else, the serving is getting smaller.  But oh what delicious goodness it is while I devour it.  With gravy on the sandwich and on the side, of course ;).  Afterwards, we went by the new public library.  And the ever-awesome Kristin checked out books for us on her card so that Lynnaea could have new books to read for a few days (not just the same boring 2 we brought from Washington...).  Lynnaea loved visiting the new library and it's awesome Children's Section.  She loved being able to play on the computer.  And we also got to visit with my former boss Bettye and Charlotte with whom I also worked.  Pretty much everyone else is new, though.  So many changes.  Including the fact that there is now no building where there was once a massive library.  No more page rec room.
True, change is good.  But there will always be a part of my heart that aches when i see the empty lot -- with the Indian standing alone in the corner.
But it is a nice new library!
Oh yeah!  Lynnaea and I also stopped off at the Visitors' Center and picked up a couple peanut ornaments (it's my new tradition:  to have a Christmas ornament from the places we visit) and for Lynnaea to have a little chat with the King (peanut-ized).  She thought he was cool.  On Wednesday night, we fulfilled Jeremy's one request:  that we at a buffet!  I was shocked when he made the request when we landed in Birmingham (because I'm the foodie in our family, not him!).  I thought he was joking.  He assured me he wasn't.  So when I asked why, he said, "Because we don't have them in Washington!"  True.  So we took my dad out to Golden Corral.  If you ever want to go to a buffet and not have a ton of people there...  Go the night before Thanksgiving.  Seriously.  We had no wait for anything.  It was pretty bomb. 

Thursday was Thanksgiving.  We were just having a small dinner at my dad's.  I went down and visited Julie and her family during the day and was invited to eat Thanksgiving with them (they ate mid-day).  It was wonderful to see her dad and brother again.  We had a great time visiting and sharing what we are grateful for.  Julie's family will always have a special place in my heart for a number of reasons.  I'm grateful for them.  At my dad's house, I was in charge of the cooking.  And the turkey breast took longer than anticipated.  I was annoyed a bit.  But we got through it.

Friday was a mellow-ish day.  It was a nice day outside too.  So Lynnaea and I took a walk down my dad's street.  It's beautiful in Alabama at this time of year when I go.  It's why I always choose to go at this time ;).

Lynnaea loved all her outdoor time while we were in Alabama.  This walk was no exception.  Check out this happy face!
Friday for lunch, Lynnaea and I tried out Chicken Salad Chick with my friend Karen.  It was yummy!  And a nice visit :).  Friday evening I met up with several friends at Chill, a frozen yogurt shop.  I got there a little early, so I went into the store next door because it was new and different, so I thought I'd check it out.  As I was about to leave the store, I heard someone say, "Hila?"  I looked up to see a guy I used to work with at the public library.  So we visited for a few minutes and caught up.  According to him, I look the same as I did way back when.  I'm choosing to believe that means I still look young -- and not that I looked old back then ;).  Hahaha.   So anyway, we said our good-byes and I headed next door to check out the frozen yogurt selection.  And met up with these fabulous ladies!  Let's just say the conversation was awesome and funny.  As always.
Friday night, Lynnaea and I played with her monkey hat.  She thinks I'm hilarious.

Saturday arrived, and it was time to get ready to head out.  Back to Birmingham. Before going, though, my dad, Lynnaea, and I went out to visit the grave of my grandparents. 
I just felt it was an important thing to do.  Then it was time to go.  It's always sad to say good-bye.  Always. 
As you can see, it was a beautiful day.  Our drive back to Birmingham was good.  We stopped for food.  Made good time.  And actually watched the Iron Bowl at Julie's house.  First time ever for me to watch it.  I am not attached to football, but I have to say it was a fun experience.  And I realize I probably should have given it a fair chance years ago.  But, you live, you learn.  Oh, and in case you were wondering what Jeremy does while I go out visiting and eating a bunch of delicious food with friends...  Well, he helps my dad with stuff around the house.  He's happy doing that while I socialize.  It works out well for all of us ;).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Alabama Trip: Installment 1

So yeah... It's only been a month since I last posted.  And 2 weeks since we got back from Alabama.  What can I say?  It's a busy time of year.  But I figured I should probably at least start posting some stuff from our way-awesome trip to Alabama this year. 

After all, I've decided tomorrow is going to be a lazy pajama day.  Lynnaea and I will not be leaving the house.  And after the busy days we've been having, I'm quite looking forward to it.  So I'll sit here and pop my holiday mint m&m's for some late-night oomph and get this thing started! 

Welcome to our Alabama Adventure 2014 Installment 1! 

We began our morning at 3:30 on November 19th.  Jeremy and I did.  We did everything we could to finalize getting ready before waking up the munchkin.  And at 4, we couldn't put off waking her anymore.  She was surprisingly easy-going about being awoken from her sleep -- though she did want to do a lot more snuggling than usual.  My mom (bless her) picked us up around 4:25 and dropped us off at the ferry.  We hauled a suitcase, a rollaway bag, a backpack, and a carseat (whith child still in it) onto the ferry.  We spent the hour ferry ride deconstructing the car seat and keeping Lynnaea entertained.  She wasn't into sleeping like all other commuters were at that hideous time of the morning (4:50).  We docked in Seattle, and hoofed it several blocks to the light rail station.  Jeremy wore Lynnaea on his back and carried most of the items.  I had the backpack and rollaway bag. 

I was exhausted by the time we boarded the light rail.  Then we got to the airport (45 minutes later), got checked in.  Checked our bag and car seat (I love Southwest!  They let you take checked bags for free!!!).  Went through security.  Blech.  It took about 20 minutes.  Not horrible, but still annoying.  Lynnaea fell asleep in the baby carrier during the security line wait.  She woke up around the time we got to our gate.
She likes to pick her nose.  Nice, huh?  But yeah, this is pretty much right after she woke up. 

She did not sleep on the first flight.  Which was only 2 hours.  Which, sure, is nice.  But that meant the 2nd flight would be a long haul.  Our first layover was in Las Vegas.  Now there's an interesting airport for you.  Gambling machines everywhere.  And children aren't allowed near them.  Which is nice, since they are totally lit up with lights and look oh-so-appealing to a toddler.  Anyway, turns out one of my cousins is in Las Vegas these days, and she drove 30 minutes to see us during our brief layover!  It was pretty awesome of her, and it was nice to see her.  It had been almost a decade since I had.  We had a nice visit for the short amount of time we had. 
We left Last Vegas and flew about 4 hours to Birmingham.  Julie picked us up (after we got all our luggage), and we got Chick-Fil-A for dinner.  It's, like, the greatest welcome back to the South.  We were exhausted, so after visiting for a bit, we all turned in for the night.  The next couple days were spent in the Birmingham area with Julie and her family.  Lynnaea was in heaven, because there were other little kids there.  Which made it even more vacation-y for us!  At home, we are her entertainment.  She likes it way better when there are new people.  I can't say as I blame her.  We're kinda boring ;).  Anyway, she enjoyed hanging out in the backyard at Julie and Jon's house. 
We even found a huge knot in one of the trees in the yard and we could sit her on it.  She even cooperated long enough -- and sat still so she didn't fall ;) -- to snap a picture of it!
We spent Friday night at my friend April's house.  After an awesome [Scrubs] party.  Which, did I mention, was awesome.  Here's a group shot.  But if you're curious about other pictures and the details of the awesome party, just check out this link.
It was good times. 

On Saturday, we drove our rental to Dothan.  After April cooked us a delicious breakfast.  And so this is where I'll leave you with installment 1.  Because I need some sleep!