Saturday, September 8, 2012

Labor Day weekend

Phew.  I finally got to sleep in this morning, and it was glorious!  The last few weeks have been hectic, and every morning this week I would wake up and think, "I can't wait until Saturday morning when I don't have to get out of bed until I want to..."  I took this ambition seriously, and even though I woke up a little after 8am, I went back to sleep until 10:30.  It was glorious.

This relaxing weekend is a stark contrast from my weekend in New Orleans two weeks ago, and the whirlwind road trip Cori and I took last weekend.  Every Labor Day weekend, some of Cori's closest friends from Virginia Tech gather at a lake house in Tennessee, owned by one of his friend's parents.  We went two years ago and had the BEST time.  This was pre-marriage, pre-engagement, and this weekend was my first real introduction to his Tech friends.  It was so fun getting to know them and to see the ways they delighted in Cori.  Thankfully, I passed their inspection and was allowed to continue to date Cori. ;)  It was also a particularly fun getaway for me and Cori; we'd recently moved from talking about if we got married and started talking more confidently about it being a matter of when.

Unfortunately, due to the craziness of last summer- getting married, moving, starting new jobs- we missed out on this fun time.  This year, we were determined to make it happen. I wasn't able to get off work early on Friday, so we didn't leave Tampa until 7pm that night.  After a looong drive (and by long, I mean 7 hours, and Cori drove the whole way and I napped for a good chunk of it- oops!) we arrived in Atlanta.  Two of Cori's best friends, Seth and Tram, recently moved there.  It was great to spend the night with them and get some quality time the next morning.  Seth was one of Cori's groomsmen, and I'd forgotten how ridiculous Cori gets when he's with his college buddies.  This picture shows a glimpse...

Seth was the first one to put on this shirt, but when Cori realized he'd packed it, he excitedly put in on- and similar shorts- so he could match with Seth.  Let me tell you, it was REAL fun to go out to lunch with the Bobbsey twins. ;)

Dorchas (another VT friend who was visiting Seth and Tram that weekend), Tram, Seth, Cori, and me

We left Atlanta around 1pm, and made it to Tennessee by 6 that evening.  Unfortunately, we somehow managed to take absolutely NO pictures during this time, so you'll just have to imagine with me.  The rest of our group was already there- Paul & Cynthia, Cynthia's sister Julia, Gonzo & Sarah, Pete, and Jesse.  We drove into Nashville that night for dinner.  I really enjoyed walking around after dinner; Nashville reminds me of New Orleans in some ways- just a lot of culture and uniqueness there.

Sunday morning the boys headed out to play frisbee golf (which is pretty much Cori's favorite activity in the world) while the ladies lounged around the lake house.  It was so wonderful to spend the day relaxing amongst friends- I chatted with the girls, went for a run, read a good book (Divergent- it's a sci-fi young adult book, akin to the Hunger Games books- an engaging read, but not as good as the Hunger Games, in my opinion), and after the rain cleared up, played in the lake.  The boys played 'King of the Raft,' which basically entailed trying to be on top of the raft and throwing off anyone who got in their way.  This is an intense game for these boys, to the extent that Paul shared that he'd added to his workout routine over the past month in preparation.  SO hilarious to watch!

One of the funniest parts of the evening was our game of Balderdash.  I don't know what it is about this game, but every time we play it with Cori's friends, we just about die of laughter. 

Monday morning we said our goodbyes and took the 12 hour trek back to Tampa.  It was a long drive, but it was definitely worth it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

oh my nola...

August 24-26 I had the enormous joy of going to one of my favorite places in the world: New Orleans!  It was a quick trip; I got in on Friday night around 11and left Sunday evening at 8:30.  The nice thing is, I'm heading back in October for one of my best friends' (Kim!) weddings, so I didn't feel a huge amount of pressure to do everything and see everyone.  

I met up with Kim, Laura, and Katie at the airport.  Kim and Laura were my roommates in the Willow House, and Katie is a dear friend from growing up who has since moved to New Orleans.  She actually took my place in the Willow House when I got married... because as sad as I was to leave my roommies, most people recommend you live with your husband- even if he doesn't have cute shoes in your size and sassy accessories. ;)  I spent the first half of the weekend just soaking up the Willow House girls... laughing, chatting, walking around Uptown, doing a few wedding errands with Kim... and of course, getting  chicken schwarmas from Babylon!

SO much happiness right here!  I miss this sandwich so much!

Then, we headed out for our main event of the evening: a girls' night out in honor of Kim, who's wedding is less than 2 months away!  After a year of living with a boy, I forgot how much fun it is to get ready with other girls... we seriously spent 2 hours getting ready.  SO much fun!  Then we enjoyed a yummy dinner at Domenico's and headed to the Goldmine to dance it up.  We topped the evening off by spending the night at a swanky hotel in the French Quarter.  Wonderful!

Katie, Corey, Kim, Laura, me, and Maria

Sunday morning, Kim and I walked around the Quarter, looking at some of the fun shops and checking out the revamped French Market.  My super healthy breakfast that morning?  Diet coke, a praline, and 3 beignets.  Was it delicious?  You bet!  Did I experience a sugar crash later in the afternoon!  Absolutely! ;)

I enjoyed a late lunch with Katie and our friend Arthur at Parkway Bakery and Tavern, which has some of the best po'boys in the city.  LOVE their shrimp po-boy!  Afterwards, we had a mini-relief team reunion and I got to see Danielle and her hubby Andrew, Mel and Ken, and these two cuties....

Avery, you are ADORABLE!

Meeting sweet Miss Eliza Page was a definite highlight of the trip!
Soon afterwards, it was time to head back to Tampa.  Thankfully, there were no problems with my flight; I had initially been worried about Hurricane Isaac keeping me from getting back to Cori, but all was well.  Of course, Isaac caused many to evacuate NOLA, which was crazy.  My friends were fine, but had to deal with power being out for a while.

My weekend in NOLA was wonderful- so lovely to have some quality girl time with my friends there.  I will say, it was weird at times to be somewhere that used to be so my home- but it wasn't anymore.  Anyone else experience that after moving away?  I'm sure I felt that way after first leaving Virginia, but it's been so long.

It's hard to believe that it was just a week and a half ago that I was in New Orleans for the weekend!  Things have been busy, busy around here!  Seriously, I got back into to Tampa around 11 pm on a Sunday night and we've hardly stopped since then.  Cori did some public health surveillance for the Republican National Convention that was in town, so last week he worked from 3pm to 11pm, which meant that we were basically ships passing in the night.  And then last Friday, the moment I got off of work we headed out for a Labor Day weekend road trip- which I'll have to detail more in another post!  We're thankful for a chill week and weekend ahead.

I'll end with some lyrics from Harry Connick Jr's song, 'Oh my NOLA...'

Oh my Nola
Old and true and strong
Just like a tall magnolia tree
Sit me in the shade
And I'm right where I belong
Oh my New Orleans
Wait for me