This post is almost 2 weeks overdue! I am really behind, but we've been running around like crazy for the last 2 weeks, beginning with Mom's spring break (April 12 - 17). Even though it wasn't our spring break, it sure felt like a vacation week. Chad left Sunday afternoon for Phoenix and Mom showed up Monday and stayed the entire week. On Monday I cleaned out the garage, organized a few closets and did some minor yard work before Mom arrived that night.
On Tuesday we headed to Atlanta for a mini-vaca with Vicki, Ash and Addie Jane. We met them at Atlantic Station, where we trekked through Ikea and tried our best not to be overwhelmed, although that was highly unlikely seeing as it is HUGE and none of us had been before. We ended doing 2 full "laps" around the store and staying a full 3 HOURS (because that's just how long it takes to get through there). I had been told that it was overwhelming and to know what I wanted before I went, but I didn't really have anything that I really needed, so I didn't make a list. Well I wish I had at least thought of a FEW things I needed/wanted, because they have pretty much EVERYTHING; but once you get in there and start looking, you can't remember what your own house looks like much less what you need for your house. I did get a storage shelf for the toys in the downstairs playroom as well as a small table with 4 little stools, and I love them both. I also bought a floor lamp for baby Sam's room (for $15!) and a chalkboard/mail holder for my kitchen.
The girl's enjoyed Ikea's children's section and destroyed the play area in no time!
After our 3-hour trek, we were starving! So first we stopped at the hotel to check in. The girls loved the floor-to-ceiling windows. Mommy thought they were super dangerous.
They also loved the walls, which were decorated with HUGE photos of fish...
and of course, the elevator and all its many buttons.
They also had a rooftop deck on the 7th floor and we went out to check out the city view.
That night we ate at Max's Pizza, a coal oven pizzeria where the portions are HUGE and the sweet tea is not-so-sweet (boo.) We all split salads and the Bianca pizza, which I HIGHLY recommend (mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, pepper flake and fresh basil - yummmy!) Addie Jane and Mary Ella split a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and were surprisingly not too messy.
After dinner we walked to Centennial Park and watched the water show and let the kids play in the fountain. Addie Jane was the brave one, of course, while Mary Ella mostly watched. She did get closer to the water by the end of the night.
We walked back to the hotel and got a semi-good night's rest (toddlers + unfamiliar hotel room = fussiness.) I ended up calling room service and asking for a Pack-n-Play and that solved the problem! The next morning we went to the aquarium and the girls were wild with excitement. Here they are with their grandmothers (Vicki, my aunt and Addie's grandmother, and my mom with Mary E.)
And here they are enjoying some of the exhibits at the Georgia Aquarium...
We ended our aquarium journey with a good old fashioned temper tantrum. She was pretty exhausted after all the walking and so was her Momma!
And then we went BACK to Ikea for one last walk-through (I know, we're crazy) and FINALLY headed home around 5pm that night. We made it back Wednesday night and Mary Ella went straight to bed. Mom and I caught up on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars and then hit the sack ourselves. She stayed until Friday and I worked both Thursday and Friday mornings while she and Mary Ella slept late and did some more shopping.
On Friday night Chad flew back into town. I had planned to have him a small surprise get together at our favorite Italian joint, Joe's Italian, in Alabaster. Since we lived near there, I told him I'd ordered a pizza and just asked if he would pick it up on his way home from the airport. But I had secretly invited his brother Jason and his family to come and eat with us. Well, thanks to traffic being not-so-bad for Chad and the balloon guy at Publix being ever-so-talkative, Chad made it there before us! Luckily he spotted his brother right away and figured it out. He was surprised and very appreciative, nonetheless, and we enjoyed a FABULOUS authentic Italian meal. He even obliged me with his best "surprised face."
and so did Mary Ella.
If you've never been to Joe's, I highly recommend it! Their restaurant has been featured on the Food Network and they are the real thing. The food is the BEST. We ordered a huge piece of strawberry cake for dessert and the entire Italian family came out of the kitchen, along with their accordion-playing son, and sang a perfectly harmonious "Happy Birthday" to Chad followed by a fast-paced Italian dancing song; Mama, Joe's wife, made Chad get up and dance with her in front of the restaurant. It was hilarious and we all laughed our butts off. Then we finished our cake and went home happy.
On Saturday we ate breakfast at the Ranch House and that night we grilled burgers with Jason and Keri Lynn and the boys. My nephews are HILARIOUS! This one, Case, is a wild monkey! He gives Mary Ella a run for her money!
On Sunday my Dad, my brother (Adam) and his wife met us for church (Adam and Ashley were passing through on their way back from Myrtle Beach and Dad came to visit). We enjoyed worship and a wonderful message on my favorite Psalm (27) and then ate lunch at Superior Grille. That afternoon we worked in the yard (thanks, Dad!) and I planted lantanas, dianthus and verbena; we re-mulched the flower beds and tried to get things in decent shape. That night Dad bought and grilled steaks for us and they were so good. We said goodbye to Dad Monday morning and he headed back home.
Yesterday I went to the hospital to visit Lauren, one of my best friends since preschool, and her precious new baby girl, Brooke Caroline Conner. She is the sweetest thing at a whopping 6 pounds, 3 ounces! Both of them are doing great and I am so excited that Lauren is now a mommy! She will be such a fun mom; I need to get her to start a blog because she is HILARIOUS and I'd love to hear her antics on motherhood.
Ok, are you still with me? God bless you, that was such a long post!
Thanks so much for those that have checked in to make sure I am still alive! We're alive and well! I'm feeling great and my blood sugars have all been normal! I have my 33-week appointment tomorrow so I'll update again then!