We got to host Carson's parents the week before Christmas!
They arrived very late on Wednesday night and we were ready with a sign! The airport is being worked on, so it was dusty and full of construction. Not a great first impression. The second impression wasn't great either because they were the only flight arriving at that time and the last flight of the day and it took about 45 minutes for the bags to finally make it off their tiny plane and onto the baggage claim ramp. Oh well!
We sort of slept in the next morning (I had the day off work) because we'd stayed up for an hour talking and before we knew it it was 2am.
We went to Thomasville, Georgia, because it was supposed to rain, which ruined our initial plans to spend the day outside in Tallahassee. We explored this big antique shop first.
And then we wandered the streets of this cute little town. I think I've mentioned that it's been unseasonably warm this December? It was over 80 degrees with mega humidity.
We returned to Tallahassee and walked around Lake Ella because the skies were threatening but it wasn't actually raining.
You made have noticed an outfit change for Carson: he went to see the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that night and I decided to give him one of his birthday presents two day early in honor of that, so he put it on!
And we had lunch at the Crepevine. As it sounds, it's a crepe place. They have sweet crepes (what I think of when I think of crepes) and then they have savory crepes, which are the kind of crepes that I really love. We all got different crepes and they were all great and I think we will definitely be returning.
Carson went to his Star Wars movie (friends of his had purchased tickets a couple of months before and bought him one, so he had those plans before we knew his parents were coming) and the rest of us went home for a minute. Mike stayed there and watched a movie, and Danita and I went Christmas shopping for Carson!
I worked the next day, but met everyone at Midtown Pies, which is a pizza place that I can see from where I work. We've been before and enjoyed it (with my parents last year) and enjoyed it again with the Bays. Here's a terrible picture I took of us enjoying it.
I got out of work at just before 6 that night, after the others had had a productive day of sightseeing and more Christmas shopping, and we set out to Dorothy B Oven park to walk around and look at the Christmas lights. It definitely wasn't that cold, but thanks to the rain of the day before, the temperature had cooled off and made it feel slightly more Christmassy.
We celebrated Christmas with the Bays that night. Carson and I didn't exchange gifts with one another, but we did exchange as a family and it was fun. Danita took this picture of our living room and I think it's very pretty!
We watched a Christmas movie (Fred Claus... the Bays brought it) and made appetizery foods like the Bays typically had on Christmas growing up and talked and had a low key little Christmas, exactly a week before actual Christmas.
Carson did insist on giving me one gift: a fuzzy blanket.
Again on Saturday I worked, but we aren't open all day on Saturdays, so when I left at 2, we were all hungry and ready for Carson's birthday lunch!
We went to The Red Elephant, which is a local chain (I think - it could very well be lots of places) with lots of variety. And we'd talked up boiled peanuts so it was nice that they offered them as an appetizer. The Bays approached them with excitement, and seemed to enjoy them, although they were surprised at the taste and the texture. I love them, so I was thrilled to introduce them to this delicacy and only a little offended when they described them as "salty beans".
Carson eyed the pumpkin cheesecake and since it was his birthday, I encouraged him to have a piece. I don't really like pumpkin, but this was pretty good!
Following lunch, we decided a walk was the best day to deal with eating lots of food, so we headed for the Florida State campus. It was a beautiful day, although quite chilly. We definitely got to showcase the wide variety of available temperatures in North Florida and even Carson's parents were cold (it's the darn humidity mixed with the cold - the temperature is fine but the moisture in the air makes it feel much colder).
Carson forgot his key, but we found an open door in the philosophy department that connects to his department, so he got to show off his office, the classics library, and other favorite spots in Dodd Hall.
We walked down to the stadium to see if we could get in there too, but sadly could not. Danita has a little bit of Cherokee in her, so it's a running family joke to embrace anything American Indian and claim it as her ancestry. I don't really understand it all because I've only been around for the past six years, but it's safe to say that they took this picture because of the guy on the horse, even though he's a Seminole.
Our walk around campus was a little over four miles, which I didn't expect. I guess it's bigger than I thought!
It was Carson's birthday, but Mike's birthday had been the day before they arrived, so we decided to celebrate both of them with an ice cream cake we picked up at Publix. I really really wanted trick candles, and they turned out to be an excellent decision. Oh, and I wrote their names on the cake, but it already said "Happy Birthday"... I didn't get that bad at writing, I started out that way.
We didn't mention that they were trick candles, but it was obvious pretty quickly that either they were trick candles or lung problems run in the family.
A nice thing about trick candles is that you have lots of opportunities to take pictures of blowing out the candles, so it takes the pressure off.
Once the candles were extinguished (in a cup of water), Carson opened presents and we played a new game I got him on a whim - Scattergories Categories. In my opinion, its much more fun than actual Scattergories, and there's a lot more room for subjectivity, since thinking in a box while being timed can be a little stressful.
We played games and watched a movie and Carson made burgers because he really wanted to while his parents were here and there wasn't another great time to do it.
We went to church the next morning and then headed southwest for the beach. They had mentioned wanting to see blue water and white sand and the water seems bluer and the sand is more powdery white the further west we've gone, so we drove quite a ways and went to Panama City beach. It was warmer on Sunday with a little breeze, and it was sunny, so it was a great day for a beach outing.
In the Northwest, the sand is darker and more rocky and the water is quite gray and much colder than the Gulf, so powdery sand and clear water were a nice surprise for our visitors.
We returned that night and decorated a gingerbread house I'd purchased LAST December that we'd kept putting off. It was the perfect activity and even though I would never try to eat something that old, its seemed pretty fresh still. Danita hadn't decorated a gingerbread house before but she did an excellent job. It was pretty much just the two of us to make this, and we did it as we yet again watched a Christmas movie (The Family Man)
Carson put together a little feast.
And here's our finished house!
The next morning, I woke up feeling oddly refreshed, and it felt oddly light outside. It turns out that my phone never changed back from being on Central time from our trip to Panama City, so I got an accidental extra amount of sleep. I was amazingly still the first person at work, even though I didn't wake up until ten minutes before I needed to be there and still took the time to fix my makeup and get dressed. Good thing everyone else ran late that day too!
While I was at work in the morning, Carson took his parents to the Tallahassee Museum of Natural History, where they saw animals and wildlife and all kinds of things. They picked me up for lunch and we went to Chic-fil-A because they don't have that wonderful place in the Northwest. After they took me back to work, they returned home to pack and then went to the airport.
We had a really lovely time with the Bays and I'm glad that Carson wasn't in school and was able to spend lots of time with his parents since we so rarely get to see them!