Happy December! And a Happy Post-Thanksgiving since I'm just getting around to this! Brandon and I successfully made our way to Nashville and then to Huntsville and had a wonderful time before safely returning to the West. It's back to the daily grind now, but I'll admit that I feel somewhat refreshed from the week break I had.
We arrived late Saturday evening and were greeted by a large rental vehicle (large being big enough to fit six people comfortably) containing not just my parents (who we'd expected) but also Kyle and Morgan. :) We dropped off our stuff at the hotel and then drove downtown to BB King's to listen to live music and dance a little. My parents had been to BB Kings before, and as it is a restaurant, hadn't though there would be any issue with Morgan being there (she's 16). Mom and Morgan ran in ahead to put our name on the list and pay (there was a music cover charge at $10 per person just to get in, but when my Mom said there were six of us, the lady behind the register said, "Let's just say there are four of you.") while the rest of us parked. When the rest of us came in, it was only then that we were carded. Morgan stood back behind the register and was able to slip by unnoticed. :) She looks like she could be 21. ;) The music was loud and fun, and the food delicious. Back to the hotel and to bed!
Sunday morning we got up not too early and headed out on the town. We couldn't have picked a nippier day to be out and about. I'm not sure what the temperature was, but it was cold! Really cold! We grabbed breakfast at a delicious little place and then drove around and about for a bit, driving down Broadway and around to some of the other sites. We stopped by a dress shop my mom had wanted us to see but they didn't open for another thirty minutes so we hopped back in the car and drove over to the Parthenon. Not really on the way, but in the process of heading over, we drove by the capital building and were somewhat puzzled by a very long but neat line of people that snaked around the plaza in front of the capital and down to a Sheraton just down the street. After driving around the block a few times and puzzling over it some more, my Dad finally jumped out of the car (after no one else would get out) and ran over and asked someone. Auditions for the next Star Wars movie! Fun! But they really couldn't have picked a much more miserable day to stand around outside for hours.
The Parthenon was also not quite open when we got there, so we jumped back in the car and went back to the dress shop (now open) and poked our heads around in there for awhile. Perhaps I'm just very opinionated or I have certain things I look for in clothing styles, but where many of the dresses were really cool, most of them were just slightly off in the details. As in, the fabric design or material wasn't quite what you'd want, or the cut of the neck was just a little awkward. Really cool dresses, but with those missing details, not quite worth the price.
Back to the Parthenon (now finally open), we spent awhile going through their little museum and then admiring the giant statue of Athena in the main part of the building. Very cool.
After the Parthenon we headed out to The Hermitage. The Hermitage was pretty cool, but the main part of it was an audio walking tour of the grounds. As I've already mentioned, though it was beautiful outside, it was also practically unbearable for anything longer than about ten minutes. We wandered for awhile and then decided we needed to grab a bite to eat and then head home, a good decision as we made it home just in time to drop off the rental and then hang with the Grandparents and Thor. :)
Note from Sunday. Somewhere in the middle of the day I started to notice something resembling bites on my arm and upper chest. By the end of the evening several more had appeared. They're just about all gone now, but I still have no idea what they were from. I'd say fleas, except it was mostly exposed skin they bite. I'd say bed bugs, but I was sleeping in the same bed as Morgan and she didn't have a single bite. It remains a mystery. In the process of researching it a bit we discovered that female pregnant women who wear black with O+ blood type are the most susceptible to being bitten by mosquitoes. I qualify for all of those qualities save one, I've never been pregnant - I guess I'll really have to watch out if I ever have any children. What can I say, the bugs just love me.
Monday was pretty laid back. In the evening we had a dinner party with the extended family (cousins, aunt, and uncle) as most of them were headed down to be with other family for Thanksgiving. It was a delicious Italian feast. :)
Tuesday morning started with bagels (Yum!) and then we headed with my parents over to the Space Center to see the Da Vinci exhibit. Pretty cool stuff. And then a few rockets, because they're cool too. ;) My favorite part of the Da Vinci exhibit was a careful analyses of the Mona Lisa. I guess they let a photographer take some incredibly high definition photos of the Mona Lisa complete with a variety of other types of photos (infrared, etc.). The end result attempted to shop the Mona Lisa as it was originally painted with all the intricacy of detail and color. Very different from what we see today.
Tuesday Evening Brandon and Dad headed to see Catching Fire and the girls (just ended up being me, Casey, and Mom) stayed home and had a little jewelry party complete with warm beverages and fun conversations. I took apart a random pearl cluster and created a surprisingly pretty pearl necklace.
Wednesday the family and friends (Tami and James came!) headed over to Scottsboro to a store called Unclaimed Baggage. The idea behind the place is pretty cool. People leave/lose luggage and items on airplanes and public transit and this company (and others like it) somehow purchase that stuff and resell it. On top of that, when you travel, you tend to take your favorite things, so the selection is likely to be higher. The electronic section alone was pretty cool to see. I don't think the items were marked down enough to make many of them worth it, but it was weird to see ten iPads stacked together like crackers. I'm so used to seeing the packaging rather than the items. We spent several hours there. In the end I cam away with only one item, a pair of Lululemon pants that I know would have been much more expensive brand new from the store. Super comfy.
Finally Thanksgiving on Thursday! We started the morning with a delicious breakfast of quiche and goetta. Much of the rest of the day was spent relaxing and working on food. The only thing I really contributed to this go around was helping Kyle with the rolls. We'd sort of spaced about the rolls so we decided to experiment with a homemade roll recipe in the bread maker. It turned out really well. We ended our Thanksgiving feast with a musical glass chorus (spur of the moment as we were all sitting around the table) by Kyle and Morgan. The ending project for the evening was putting together our travel map of the United States that goes on the wall. Before we put any pins in, Dad wanted to draw the long trip on to make sure we at least covered that. And then the pins were in! One or more in each state for me!
Friday morning we took a nice little walk around the neighborhood ponds (finally a day nice enough to go outside) and then back to the airport and bound for Utah!
I've only included a handful of the pictures here. The rest (about 90 total) are on facebook to enjoy when you get a chance!