Thursday, October 13, 2016

Disney Consolation Weekend

About 6 months ago Forrest came home and told me that the Alabama dentist conference was going to be held at Disney World in October--I held my breath--are we going? Hooray! We were! Now, up to this point we had said that we were not going to be in a rush to take Charlotte to Disney because she had no idea what it was, she was too young, and we weren't super into it anyway. Well, all that changed in a mere matter of seconds. We were both beyond excited to get to go with her and the planning began. Luckily our friends and Forrest's partner were going too and as Disney aficionados, they handled all the planning from the dining to the fast passes. All I did (which mind you took way more time, effort, and energy than it should have) was plan Charlotte's outfits. Enter hurricane Matthew. This monster storm ravaged Haiti and the Bahamas and was set to wreak havoc on Florida the day after we were set to arrive. The parks actually closed for I think the 4th time in history due to the storm--and so we just didn't go. I was devastated--silly I know, but I had been looking forward to the trip for so long! (And Charlotte's outfits were on point!) We knew though that since our trip was short, it didn't make much sense to spend the first half in the hotel and then get only one good day before flying home (our trip was much shorter than the rest of the group's since we had the youngest child). Since Disney was offering full refunds, we decided it would be best to postpone the trip for value and of course, safety's sake. Charlotte of course had no idea that the trip was happening so she wasn't sad, but we had days off work and a weekend to kill, so we decided to turn our frowns upside down and used the time as family time anyway.
That morning we asked Charlotte what she wanted to do that day and she said "ebie" without hesitation (her word for zebra) so we headed to the zoo! It was decorated for Boo at the Zoo and there were all these Disney character cutouts. 
I should have been thrilled that she thought they were awesome but I kept thinking about how much more she would have liked the real deal (and on second thought that was extra dumb because the real deal could quite frankly scare her, so my pity party was totally off in more ways than one).
Next on a whim we stopped at the new hotel near the zoo and ate lunch on their awesome deck. Our food was fantastic and Charlotte loved being able to play outside. Again, everyone was totally sweet to her and were more than accommodating to her. 

After lunch we went to Mimi's to take a nap, and then she and Aunt Fran went with us to the park. It was most definitely a lovely day!!

Friday I worked a little bit and we got to go to lunch together as a family (where Charlotte became infatuated with another lady diner named Charlotte), but mostly we just relaxed at home together--something we don't do very often because we are always going and going.
The next day we went to Chattanooga for some consolation fun. We tried the Children's Discovery Museum and it was most definitely a hit, even if it was a little advanced for C. 

Next we hit up the aquarium for a quick hello to the stingrays, butterflies, and Charlotte's favorite, penguins ("pen-gin").

 Then we took her to PF Changs (who doesn't love a chain restaurant) where she thoroughly enjoyed coloring her menu (I'm so grateful that she enjoys coloring as it really helps in restaurants now) and scarfing down noodles. One trait I love about my baby girl is that she will eat practically anything, just like her mommy and daddy!

After nap we took her to ride a horse and carriage around the city. Since she had been so into the horse in Tuscaloosa we thought she would really like being around one up close. 

 Afterwards we ate at a Greek restaurant and watched a little football before crashing into bed. We had to wake that tired baby up the next morning to make it to our Duck Tour on time.

We were able to make it home in time to have our usually Sunday lunch with Forrest's family and dinner with mine (with a stop to see the kittens squeezed in). We cherish these Sunday's with our family so much and love that Charlotte has the opportunity to grow up with lots of family around.

Even though the hurricane changed our weekend we are so blessed that we didn't suffer any real damage. Hundreds lost their lives, and thousands lost their homes and livelihood. We send our prayers and love to all of those affected!


Monday, October 3, 2016

Tuscaloosa Girl

We spent the past weekend in Tuscaloosa--our favorite place! It was homecoming and so there would be lots of extra fun things for Charlotte to do plus several of our friends would be there too. We went down Friday night and were thrilled to be able to snag a reservation at Chris Hastings' new restaurant, Side by side. We were nervous about taking Charlotte but they were very accommodating and friendly to her (not always the case when you take a child to a restaurant). We opted to sit outside so she could be a bit more free and she had so much fun--waving at people (especially those walking dogs), beeping when a car would honk its horn, and perhaps picking a few flowers out of the landscape. Our dinner was lovely, as was the weather. It was a perfect fall evening!

The next morning my mom and dad watched c while Forrest and I had a date at our favorite breakfast spot, the Waysider. We sat at the same table we used to back in the day when we were still just dating. That feels like forever ago!! Afterwards we loaded up and went to campus to check it out. There are so many changes going on around campus--it's exciting to take it all in! It looks so different than when I was still there. 

 Charlotte took a little nap in the stroller and we really all had a nice morning just wandering around. It felt like fall so it was nice to be outside! 

After a quick lunch we posted up for the parade. I was so nervous that Charlotte would be terrified. She is afraid of the sound of the vacuum and anything similar (hair dryer, lawn mower, mixer, etc) so I thought the band and all the trucks might not thrill her. She actually did great! She sat on Forrest shoulders which I think made her feel comfortable and she danced (while sitting) and clapped. 
Her favorite part was the horse! She was beside herself. I guess she has never seen a real one and it blew her little baby mind. If you ask her about the parade she will tell you "horse" and then blow a raspberry (how she makes the horse sound). We also saw my cousin juju who c loves!! Afterwards we strolled around some more and met up with some friends for a while.

After Charlotte took a long nap we got her ready and went to the game. Again I was nervous about the noise scaring her. She gets scared of applause and also if we are watching football and start screaming at the tv--taking her to a game sounds like a smart idea right? I wouldn't take her except for the fact that the kick off time worked perfectly with her schedule and we had an extra ticket and a place to stay the night. Also, and most importantly, we were definitely going to win the game so I didn't mind being preoccupied and having to leave early. We started off in the stadium club with dinner. She was excited to see some "big girls" she knows from the neighborhood and I was glad they were there too because it made her feel comfortable. 
Side note--she thought her new Keds were totally awesome--she showed them to everyone.

Luckily their seats are right behind ours so I figured if she got scared they could distract her. Forrest had the lovely task of carrying her up the five flights of stairs to our seats and the whole time we were talking about how much fun she was going to have. We got to our seats and gave her a juice cup and a shaker and she was fine!!

 I was so impressed with her. She loved seeing all the flags, watching birds fly overhead, shaking her shaker, screaming a minute after everyone else did, and saying "boom" when the players would hit. We just passed her from person to person and she was content the whole time. 

We left at halftime quite pleasantly surprised with the whole experience! 
Now that we know it can be done, I'm looking forward to more football weekends with our girl! (And bama wins of course) 

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