Monday, September 28, 2015

No Ham Like Birmingham

Recently, I got to go to Alabama with friends, and it was WONDERFUL. 

Eleven years ago, these friends and I knew each other but weren't actually friends. We were forced into an English/Writing class thanks to our mothers, a decision I'm pretty thankful for because it has given me some great lifelong friends.

After I graduated high school, a couple of years before the other three did, the class ended. I think that's just the way it was and that it didn't have anything to do with me, although I'd be alright with you making that conclusion. Since then, we've all moved away from Beaufort; Jillian has moved back to South Carolina for a bit right now, Christina and I live in Florida (she's in the Tampa area), and Emily lives way over in Arkansas, which is actually a lot further west than I realized until I knew someone who lived there. So although we had group texts going and occasionally saw each other in our hometown or by visits, we were never all together. 

I think Emily was the one who first moved to have a reunion. Jillian looked up a place that was in between for everyone, and for some reason, Birmingham was the place that was most equidistant (not for Christina, unfortunately). She found a hotel online and booked it, and then we all made arrangements to go to Alabama, either by driving or flying. It was not only exciting that we were going to be seeing each other but that we would be seeing a new place. It seemed more exciting that way!

Emily, Jillian and I all arrived on Thursday afternoon. Christina wouldn't fly in until Friday afternoon because she was working a half day and then coming in - go getter. 

I got to meet my "niece" Tirzah for the first time. She's beautiful and just a little doll. 

Jillian was on a road trip with her family, so she and baby Wren got dropped off in Birmingham while Gary and Graceanna continued on to Texas. Here's a picture of the three little girls together for the first time. 
After Jillian's chauffeurs left, we decided to go to dinner somewhere near the hotel. I'd made a list of places around Birmingham that were local and recommended, but we wanted something nearby and fast so we went to Jason's Deli. It was great and healthy and satisfying. We have one in Tallahassee too, so Carson and I will definitely be visiting.

When we were younger, Jillian used to always like to be in the middle of people sitting on a bench or in a car - not on the edge. We reminded her of that and put her in between the carseats
Everyone was pretty tired when we got back from dinner, if this picture didn't provide a clue. 

The babies got bathed and put to bed in Jillian and Emily's room, while the grown-ups (that's us!) retired to my room to talk and watch the Food Network while we listened for them via baby monitor. 

Representing the Wingate! Woohoo!

I woke up about two hours before we'd decided to go down for breakfast the next morning and took advantage of that time by working out and reading a book - who am I? During breakfast, Wren was squawking a little bit, so I sat down with her so she could grab my nose.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Eli's Jerusalem Grill. We liked this so much that we got takeout from there a couple days later. Great minds think alike I guess, because we all ordered the Kefta Kabob sandwich. Delicious.  

Our next stop was the airport! This sunshiny baby joined Jillian and I as the welcoming committee. Emily and Tirzah didn't join us because I lost them on the highway. I'm apparently not a great lead caravan car driver. 

We reunited with the Davidson ladies at Railroad Park downtown. It was a very hot day, but we enjoyed walking around and talking in the looks-quite-new park as trains rumbled by.

Jillian had spotted a Barnes and Noble at The Summit on our way to the airport, so that was our next stop. We browsed and talked and Emily bought a baby book while Christina and I bought bottles of water because it was SO hot. 

We decided on The Cheesecake Factory for dinner because it was: a. Right there and b. Nobody but me had either ever been or hadn't been since they were little. On the less-than-two-minute drive (we opted to drive instead of walk because the babies hadn't had proper naps and we weren't sure what the evening would hold), Wren fell asleep in the back of my car. Jillian had gone in to get us a table and when I lifted Wren out, she didn't even open her eyes or flinch. She was THAT tired, poor thing.

They seated Jillian before the rest of us even walked up to the restaurant, which was nice. Although it was a hot day, the patio was perfect. Wren snoozed on my shoulder until our food arrived.

And Tirzah was not having this photo op! She settled down for her own nap right before the food arrived.

Emily and Jillian split a salad (they have monster salads) and Christina and I shared pasta, if that doesn't tell you anything about kindred spirits ;)

We went back to the hotel to put the exhausted babies down, and Tirzah decided it was playtime, so she hung out with us in Christina's and my room while Wren slept (again, monitored of course!) in the other room. We watched some HGTV but mostly listened to birth stories, which fascinate me for some reason. 

And Emily brought chocolate. She's friends with someone who makes their own spectacular chocolate in Little Rock. It was the best chocolate I've ever had. I'm going to be honest and tell you that I'm not the chocolate fanatic that Emily and Jillian are, but I really loved this stuff.

Next Up: A day full of exploring! 
I had too many pictures, so look forward to several more posts about our trip :)

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