Part One HERE
Part Two HERE
Part Three HERE
We got up on Sunday morning and went to church!
Christina and I kept waking up way before our alarms, so after we ate breakfast, we took a long time getting ready and watched a movie. But then we went to church. Wren, Christina and I rode together and the sweet baby slept on the way. We definitely looked inexperienced as we tried to lug the car carrier into church... I made Christina do it because she's taller and I pretty much drag the ground holding those things.
We all exclaimed "what a pretty place to get married!" when we walked in. And note the PowerPoint: we were EARLY. Go us. We chose to visit Mountain Brook Community Church because we'd passed it on our way to and from the city and so we knew where it was, and when we looked it up online on Saturday night (yes, last minute), it didn't seem like we'd be handling snakes or anything.
We sat in the second to last row. Tirzah didn't make it through the service but Wren did. She enjoyed making squawking noises during the singing and allllmost didn't make it through the last of the service, so I bounced with her and although I felt a little more Penecostal because of it, Wren seemed to like it.
We talked plans in the lobby for a bit. A little girl, perhaps about 2, was running around and kept crouching down to look at baby Tirzah in her carrier. It was cute.
After there wasn't enough parking for Christina and I to join the group for lunch and adventures at "Trucks by the Tracks", a food truck event they happened to have at Railroad Park that Sunday, the two of us went in search of food. We first stopped in this cute French place (Chez Lulu and Continental Bakery) that had a pianist playing lively tunes and silent Julia Child cooking videos protected on the wall. We didn't really want brunch and this place felt more pricey than we wanted, so after looking at the menu and taking a couple pictures, we left.
We drove through the downtown area and saw some things on our list. I took pictures when we got out to go to the French place and when we were stopped at lights, but didn't capture the other places.
We ended up at Schlotzskys Deli, which I remember eating in Savannah when I was younger but haven't had since. It was really good, and right next to the hotel, which was more important.
The others weren't back, so Christina and I changed and went on a hike! We aren't the sort of people who you'd peg as hikers so I think we were extraordinarily proud of ourselves for doing this. We chose Red Mountain Park because they had treehouses that sounded intriguing. We got lost on the way there because Google decided that we were "there" when we weren't, so we had to search online for the actual address - we were so thankful for smartphones on this trip!
This was the perfect choice. We'd sort of imagined a light incline, but we got a decent workout that day and hit our 10,000 steps well before bedtime (I have a pedometer app which I think is so cool these days... trying to decide if I want a FitBit). Pictures also can't depict how steep this actually was. I'd brought tennis shoes, but Christina was in sandals, bless her heart.
We hiked to the SkyHy Treehouse. It was so neat and I think the other girls would have loved it, but this wasn't a baby-friendly adventure.
We got a glimpse of the Birmingham skyline to the east. The other two treehouses at this park would have likely provided a better view of the city (I'm guessing), but it would have been way out of our way to try, so we were content with this view.
I'm not intending to hold anything up here, though it looks like I am. That's our map, which we only got lost on once. I say that like its a point of pride. It isn't, but if you saw the mistake place, you'd understand.
There was an old mine on the hike back. It looks more like a church, but it said it was a mine so apparently it's a mine.
We thought our adventures were over but no. We stopped at McDonald's for cold water and bathrooms and got more than we bargained for. As we got in the car to leave, Christina went to throw our old cups from lunch away, then quickly sat down again. It seemed routine: a minivan zipped into the parking lot, followed by a police car with the lights on. Suddenly, the police were yelling at the driver of the van to put their hands out of the window and come out slowly. This wasn't your typical pulled-over-for-speeding. Had the driver had a gun, my little car might have been at risk, but we didn't see them with guns. The driver got out slowly and backed toward the police on her knees with her hands up, where she was quickly handcuffed and put in the backseat. Then the passenger, a very tattooed big man was told to do the same. We waited as the three officers put them in the cars - who were we to interrupt a crime scene? As we left - after Christina bravely insisted on throwing those cups away after all - we saw them photographing little bags full of some sort of drug, and one officer with a big wad of balled up cash that the man had been holding. "We just saw a drug bust!!???"
This was the first thing we said when we reunited with Jillian and Emily - to which they said "so did we!" They saw some people exchange goods while at the food trucks and then later saw lights flashing and assumed the people were being arrested. I promise that we felt safe, and that this was just random and due to the crowds and things... But how strange!
We got takeout from Eli's that night for dinner. We'd planned to dress up and go out but Tirzah was down for the night. Wren stayed up to party, and tried to help herself to a little Tabbouleh, pictured here.
Since it was our last night, we stayed up very late (our nights got progressively later as we went) and talked and also watched Bride Wars. Christina and I stayed up even later talking after the others went to bed, because apparently quiet people just can't shut up. It was perfect though. Worth all the lost sleep.
Morning came too soon, as it does after late nights, and Christina and I got up for the airport. We packed and dressed and went down to breakfast with Emily. Jillian said a quick goodbye and went back to bed (we were jealous). I got a last cuddle in with Tirzah as we ate.
And a last selfie that Jillian slept through.
And a last-last selfie at the airport. Emily and Jillian left later because Jillian's flight to Dallas wasn't until the afternoon.
Odd thing about the airport: you go through a cemetery to get there.
I got my final view of Birmingham as I drove out of the city.
My drive home was pleasant, though it's always hard to say goodbye and I always wish these trips were "just a day" longer.
I thought that Dothan, Alabama was funny: peanuts everywhere. I pulled in to a visitors center to take this:
And these were in front of a mechanic that I pulled in the parking lot of to take a picture: peanut military branches (a fourth is hiding).
And I made a quick pit stop at the sign for the National Peanut Festival - a huge building where the annual event is held. I'm guessing Dothan isn't a great place to live with a nut allergy.
Pretty soon I was back in Florida, back in Eastern Standard Time, and back home. Until next time, friends!
I'd love to go back to Birmingham, would enjoy exploring it more, and it's officially on the list of places we'd be willing to move post-doc.