Monday, July 15, 2013

Went to Alabama with...Carolina on my mind

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For some time I had been looking for a reasonably-priced flight to Birmingham, AL to visit my best friend.  She's been living there for almost two years, but the last two years have been pretty hectic for us.  We also had a wedding coming up in Columbia, SC so I was cleverly able to combine the two trips.  It gave me some time to visit some other family and my other best friend as well.

I flew into Birmingham on a Thursday night and we went to straight to the most important place--a Mexican restaurant.  Jessica's family was the first to introduce me to Mexican food as a kid and I have eaten enough Mexican food with her and her mother to last a lifetime...and yet we carry on!  She also drove me around a bit to see the area, some houses, and her favorite view of the city.

On Friday morning she had to work so I just caught up on some blog-reading while she was gone and watched some Boy Meets World she had kindled recorded for me.  When she got back we went to Subway to get lunch and enjoyed it out on her balcony (side-note: It turned out to be a LOT cooler on this whole trip than I had expected.  It wasn't cool, but it was coolER.)  Then we exploredd some shops in Homewood before a BBQ dinner with special Alabama-style sauce (it's mayo-based, but the consistency isn't really--I don't like mayo, but I liked it).  We picked up a friend of hers and hit a special popsicle place (flavors like toasted coconut) before the minor league baseball game.  "We" won the game and then enjoyed some fireworks after.
On Saturday we picked up pizza-makings that were on sale at an organic store and then swung by the library to pick out some movies to watch.  We spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool and then went home when some rain started.  Jess put together a fabulous pizza with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, chicken sausage, and fresh basil from her herb garden.  And then she proceeded to make the most decadent ice cream known to man--mint with Girl Scout Thin Mints crushed up in it made with the mint from her garden.  I'm telling you, it was like eating mint-flavored butter it was so rich.  Did I mention she went to culinary school?  We enjoyed the ice cream while watching Away We Go (hilarious, but there is language).

On Sunday we went to church at her roommate's father's church.  She had recently decided to leave her church and had been visiting churches and decided to try this one again.  It was a PCA Presbyterian church so it mostly felt like a Baptist church.  It definitely seemed like a good fit for her, especially with such a huge young professional class (maybe 50 people there).  After church we just made some sandwiches and went out to do some shopping.  Dinner was at a Greek place that was new to Jess but near her apartment and it was a ton of food.  We got a chance to Facetime with our other best friend, Heather, that evening before we watched Rumor Has It (all-time favorite of mine).

Monday morning started off with a walk on a trail near her apartment and then we went out to some stores again.  I never did find the black flats I was looking for, but  I did get some new sunglasses that I had wanted.  We ate the leftover pizza for dinner and rounded out our last evening with some Boy Meets World and Gilmore Girls.

I had a super-early flight so I was out of there around 5 in the morning.  Everything went very smoothly though and my dad picked me up in Charlotte around noon after my layover in Chicago.  I went back to my parents' and just hung out there until my mom got home.  She drove me up to Salisbury to my brother's so I got to see his new place and then we all went to dinner at the Olive Garden.  My mom drove my brother's Jeep back home so that I could borrow her car the next day to go to Chapel Hill to visit my nephew and I spent the night at my brother's.  I introduced him to Arrested Development, but I'm not sure I made a fan out of him.

I got on the road to Chapel Hill just after 8 in the morning.  I went with my nephew's mom to her moms' church group and met her friends and then just hung out with Geeb (my nephew) while she had a meeting.  We strolled down to Sutton's Drugstore and had a small lunch, but at this point we were cutting into naptime for Geeb and he was melting quickly.  But apparently it was just sitting still that's difficult when you're tired because once we got to the quad and he was able to run around and explore he was fine.  He spent a lot of time checking out the bikes on the rack and a group of students playing with a BALL!  (Frisbee)  He even met a few other kids older than him right before we had to go.  Not surprisingly, he was dead asleep within minutes of getting into his carseat and never woke up between there and the crib at home!
I then drove to Raleigh to see Heather and we went out to an Italian place for dinner.  Another old friend (we grew up in the same neighborhood) was staying with her for a couple of nights since she was moving out of town and still needed to work so the three of us just hung out and talked.  Since Heather's husband was out of town and Alicia was in the guest room, Heather and I got to share the bed just like old times.  And just like old times we stayed up to the wee hours of the morning chattering away.  Too bad because the alarm was going off before 6...

I left with Heather since she needed to lock the house and just went to Bojangles' for a good NC breakfast and hung out there until my cousin Josee said she was back from taking her son to school.  I went over to her place and hung out all day and my nephew and his mom came over as well.  The two younger kids love having Geeb around and getting to be "big kids" with him.  He experienced his very first bubbles and it was funny to watch the kids try to comprehend never having seen bubbles.  I got back to my parents' around 6, but they were out so I ended up having ice cream with Jessica's mom and just catching up.

On Friday morning I just slept in and took it easy, but also spent some time cleaning  things out of my old spaces where I still have a lot of stuff at my parents'.  I picked up my husband at the airport in the evening and we stopped at the Bojangles' near the airport for dinner since we wanted to wait out the bad traffic back up to Concord.  Then we spent the evening and night at his parents' and left early in the morning for Columbia.
We met his grandmother and uncle at Atlanta Bread Company and had a nice breakfast visit with them before the wedding.  This was a friend my husband made in college because he was the childhood friend of a friend of ours from high school.  It was an earlier wedding with a reception at the church so we had planned to go out with my husband's friends.  Now that we're older they all have girlfriends so that was nice for me and they were all really sweet.  (I was the only girl for a long time and this is my husband's first friend to get married--4 years after us.) 

We went to a place called Wet Willies (alcoholic slushies) and then World of Beer.  Everyone else was staying in Columbia so they all planned to take naps and go out that night, but we headed back to Concord.  Brice's uncle had brought us BBQ from Carolina BBQ, a family favorite, so we ended up having that for dinner.
On Sunday morning we went to Mass with my in-laws at the church where we had our reception.  I went over to hang out with my mom for a bit and then we went to my parents' church for the Presbyterian women's "passing of the gavel"--an annual event where the leadership changes, we have a speaker, and there's cake!  And cookies!  And other tasty delights!  (Guess why I went...)  My mother-in-law invited my parents and brother over for dinner (my father-in-law had left for a business trip earlier) and we had homemade BBQ by my mother-in-law, some salads, corn on the cob, and parfaits my mother-in-law put together.

Our flight left Monday afternoon, but we really didn't do anything all morning--just relaxed and got some ore Bojangles' :-)  What?  They don't have any up here...

It was a long trip, but it was great.  My only wish was that I had gotten more time with Heather, but it was great to get to see everyone and spend so much time with the Geebster :-)


  1. cute baby you've got there :)

  2. Um... So, the next time you go to Birmingham, I expect a heads up! It's only two hours from us, and I would be happy to roadtrip with Matthew over there for lunch or something! We go all the time, since it's the closest place to go to a real mall!


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