Ooooh, it's birthday month. Yes, yes! Be prepared for a hefty blog post.
I have always loved birthdays. Especially my own. I am so thrilled that I married such a fun man, who loves to hype up my birthday as much as I do!
My mom flew out last week, and then my in-laws flew out a few days later! It has been the most amazing week. To begin the week, mom and I traveled to North Carolina to meet up with some Georgian friends of ours on Sunday, which was a blast. We ate at a Cajun restaurant called Razoo's, stayed in a comfy hotel, and had such a wonderful time catching up and seeing Sarah's brand new bundle of joy, Brooklyn. Such precious memories. One of the blessings of being on the east coast for once!
The next few days were SO fun. My mom bought me a sewing machine for my birthday, and we ran around town buying fabric scraps, thread, and Fall decorations for my apartment. So far I have cut and re-hemmed a tablecloth that was too big for our table, and used the excess for a bench pillow, (our "bench" is actually a little shelf/side table that mom found at DAV Thrift, that holds my sewing supplies in it) and made an apron from some adorable remnant material! All with mom's help, of course. Our apartment now smells like Pumpkin and looks like it, too!
We have the best wreath in our entire apartment complex, and the best little pumpkin to greet us as we come home. I can't tell you enough how thrilling it has been to see the leaves turn. Each day it seems there are more trees joining in the red, yellow and orange parade.
The only regret I have for the week is that I had to work. But mom spoiled me, and the two of us had pumpkin spice lattes every day of her visit. It was so delightful. She brought Dusty and I lunch Monday and Tuesday, and we ate together outside in the beautiful weather! It was a nice break for Dusty, studying hard for midterms that week. The three of us went to Dickey's on Monday night, and Red Lobster on Tuesday night with the O'Callaghans, which was such a treat!
The day of my birthday dawned sunny and beautiful, although poor Dusty had his midterms to dread throughout the day. However, our celebration that evening shot us to brilliant, stress-free and obesitous happiness.
We had made reservations to The Crown for that evening. It has been quite a while since I have dined so finely. It is a local treasure of Lynchburg, we now know firsthand. Tasty and pricey, the food is exquisite.
Our appetizers included the salad bar, a delectable crab cake, buttery crab bisque served in a bread bowl, and the most delicious brie, served in a puffy pastry and drizzled in honey.
We were already in heaven, and our ribeye and filet mignon entrees hadn't even arrived yet. Mom and I's baked sweet potatoes were like a slice of pie, with the cinnamon honey butter they include on the side.
We were all so stuffed, the fullest we've ever been. Since it was my birthday, they brought a small platter of delicious treats. Some amazing macaroons, and the most awesome chocolate truffle things. They had GLITTER on them! It was the best!
They also gave me a free wine sauce parfait for dessert, complete with a single birthday candle. Mom got a lemon cake, and Dusty (of course) got the chocolate volcano dessert. The wine sauce parfait was SO delicious. I don't like wine, but this ice cream covered with sweet red wine sauce...I was so into it.
Even when mom knocked my spoon into my lap, dripping with the red sauce, I was still so into it. Then later, when she knocked the entire parfait into my lap, covering my dress in red wine sauce, I picked up the rest and was still, SO into it. Hahaha! I still can't stop laughing every time I think about it! It was just about the funniest thing that's ever happened to both of us, I'm sure of it. I thought they were going to come over and tell us giggling idiots that we were unfit for this nice of a restaurant. I was all but squealing in laughter. It must have been the wine sauce.
As his birthday gift to me, Dusty has prepared a whole trip for us -- which will be taking place in November! I cannot WAIT. We will be going to Connecticut for a couple nights, to see our friend Lauren, and to go into New York to see the Broadway show "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". Starring Daniel Radcliffe!! We are both so excited, and it's going to be so fun to have something so awesome to look forward to for the first few days of Thanksgiving week!
Dusty's parents arrived the next day, and I made dinner for us all! I prepared my famous (or so I'd like to think) jalapeno cream cheese chicken. Dusty has been bragging on me, so his parents really wanted to try it. Unfortunately for us all, (especially my mom), the amount of jalapenos MIGHT have been a little overboard :) but it was still delicious, and we had a great time eating together. My first experience preparing a meal for more than just Dusty and I here in lynchburg, and with our new table bench, we could all sit around our little table together! It was a great night.
Mom was all set to leave the next evening, but as she spent the afternoon with me at work before Dusty came to pick us up for the airport, she got a call that her flight had been canceled! Needless to say, I was a pretty happy camper. We had another amazing night together, the five of us eating at the Hibachi grill (a huge buffet, basically a Golden Corral with an asian twist) and mom and I spending some sewing time together, which produced my first homemade apron! (Coming to a Posies by Cait shop near you). I'm so glad she got to stay.
We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to take mom to the airport, and said our farewells. I wish she was still here! The rest of us had a loooong day of history and touristy adventures :)
We went to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. It was a really cool experience. He was such an amazing man! Rhonda bought Dusty and I a magnet of Jefferson's 10 rules. :) it has already begun to reformulate my lifestyle! He was a brilliant man, and it was incredible to see his home, his gadgets, and the evidence of his life and contribution to our history.
We then went to Appomattox, to see where Lee and Grant came to terms for the end of the war. It's amazing to walk on the same ground as some of these historical figures. Despite the many hours of driving ( a few too many, even though Dusty said he was going a faster route... :) ) it was a wonderful day, and we saw some really amazing things! We were pooped by the end of it all. We ate that night at Shaker's, which was lovely, and got in our pj's at home and watched three episodes of Boy Meets World. :)
Sunday we went to the early service at our church, and were really excited to get to show Paul and Rhonda our church home. They really enjoyed it. Our church was hosting the Children of the World, from World Help. Children from Uganda, Nepal, and the Philippines who are apart of their sponsorship program, and tour the world by dancing and singing about Jesus. It was amazing.
We made tacos for lunch, and Rhonda helped me learn a little bit about my new pressure cooker, a birthday present from my dad! We made chicken for lunches this week. I can't believe how easy and amazing it is! I can't wait to start using it. I never thought I'd love cooking this much. And my sewing machine? Pretty much the most incredible machine I've ever owned. I think I'm going to be addicted. Oh, the possibilities!
And ALSO -- big news -- Rhonda and I went shopping at the mall here in Lynchburg. It was my FIRST TIME. That's right!! My FIRST shopping trip since moving to Virginia. It was wonderful. The mall is small, (only one story) but clean and charming, I suppose -- and has all the necessary stores. We hit up New York & Company and got some awesome deals on new work clothes for me, I was in dire need of some black slacks! I'm so excited about my new clothes :) I got the most killer black boots at a shoe outlet they have there...I'm in love. After the mall we also went down to Old Navy, where I got a few more amazing steals...including a dress for $4.18. That kinda bargain would make my mom proud! All in all, it was an afternoon that I had been craving. I hadn't realized how badly! It was some great girl time for Rhonda and I.
Dinner that night was a return to Dickey's. A favorite of ours -- always a great meal! We got back into our pj's at home, and watched Something Borrowed...a birthday gift from my friend Lauren :)
It's been such a wonderful week. Even though this next stretch will be even more difficult then the last, spanning the next 10 weeks, and including Thanksgiving, I know that it will be all the more wonderful to return home in December and enjoy our family -- and truly, our experiences here continue to be more and more precious. Virginia is for lovers, after all. Why? I'm not sure. But I think it's true.
P.S. Happy Fall to all :)