Monday, August 22, 2011


Before marriage, a family, and all the fun that comes with this season of life, many of my weekends were spent with my girlfriends.  In Florida, I was so fortunate to find a great group of gals so surround myself with, and about four times a year we'd pile in the car and head out of town.  Well actually, we always went to Disney, but we never got tired of it!  I miss those trips, and even though I had some new great girlfriends when we lived in Illinois, I was knee-deep in pregnancy and dirty diapers during those two years that a trip with them just never panned out (yet, right?  You know who you are!).  So I was ecstatic when an opportunity for one of those rare girls' trips came up two weeks ago... this time with an old friend who I haven't seen in awhile and my best friend since high school.

The South Florida crew... and Pluto

Aside from living near family now, I have also quickly found that it's equally as lovely to be near some old friends.  As a graduate of the University of Tennessee (go Vols!... that statement could get me killed around here, but it's a risk I'm willing to take) we are now about two and a half hours away from Knoxville.  Even though most of us grads did not stay in K-town after graduation, all of my closest friends from those years seem to be within three hours of the place.  Once I graduated I spent five years in south Florida and the next two in Small Town, Illinois, so needless to say, I have not lived within driving distance for quite awhile.

About three weeks ago, my best friend's boyfriend sent out a mass email with plans for my best friend's big 30th birthday bash.  We had literally just moved into the house, but I knew immediately that I wanted to be there.  Elizabeth is probably winning in the who visits who more tally, and she even surprised me to be there for my bridal shower a couple of years back.  Yep, she's the best.  The party would be in downtown Atlanta, about six hours away, and Josh and I knew that we just couldn't get away for an entire weekend.  I was bummed because I knew that I didn't want to go all that way by myself, especially at 33 weeks pregnant!

Not long after that, my friend Kristen and I started emailing each other to see if the other was going.  Kristen was Elizabeth's college roommate (as was I in different years) and is honestly one of the nicest people in the universe.  If someone doesn't like Kristen, then they have serious problems... but I digress.  Up until this point, it had been a little over five years since we had seen one another, even though we keep up with one another on Facebook and in the blog world.  She mentioned that she was trying to work it out so that she could go, but would probably have to go alone so that her kiddos could stay home with their daddy.  And so from there, a plan was born!

Last weekend, I drove about four and a half hours to Chattanooga and met Kristen at a random hospital that we found on Google maps.  It was close to the Interstate, and a hospital was the safest place we could think of to leave a car overnight.  I'm not sure if I was more excited to surprise Elizabeth, or to see Kristen!  Because of some traffic snafus, we estimated that we would be at the restaurant about an hour late, so we texted Dara and let him know.  Kristen thought that Elizabeth might have had an inkling that she was coming, since she mentioned that she was trying to figure out a way to be there the last time they chatted, but we figured that if we were late, she would lose all hope... not part of the original plan, but sneaky sneaky on our part!  The drive to Atlanta went much faster than the rest of it had since we had such a great time catching up and we were downtown in no time!  We realized that we both needed to changes and scoped out the surrounding area for someplace that we could run in and use their restroom.  Feeling a bit awkward about that, we ended up in a non-crowded area of the mall parking garage and changed in the car!  I have to say, what sounded like an easy task proved to be quite a bit more difficult than usual with this belly of mine, but I managed.  We both put on some make-up and headed to the restaurant, arriving exactly an hour late.  Perfect.

The actual surprise itself could not have worked out more perfectly.  As we wandered through the restaurant looking for a big party, we saw two long tables flanked by balloons and figured that it must be them.  I spotted Dara right away and  noticed that Elizabeth was sitting right next to him, with her back turned to us.  Convenient!  We walked right up to her and tapped her on the shoulder.  When she turned around, she let out the loudest squeal, right in the middle of the restaurant!  We also  got hugs and a few happy tears, which was awesome and made the drive totally worth our while.  We were told later that some of her friends at the other end of the table thought that she had seen a mouse or something based on her unexpected scream!  BEST. REACTION. EVER.  She was absolutely giddy with excitement as she introduced us to everyone and her friends were kind enough to scoot down a bit so we could sit next to the guest of honor.  Again, our timing could not have been better considering that the waitress came around to take everyone's order about five minutes after our arrival.

Elizabeth, Kristen, and Me... back together again!

Dinner was delicious (sushi, which I rarely get... yum!  And don't worry, mine were cooked to keep the little one safe and healthy) and then we headed over to an upscale Irish pub nearby.  The place was really nice and not too crowded, which I appreciated, and we found a table and sat right away.  As the others in the group mingled with one another, Kristen and I just sat and caught up some more, even though we found that being blogging buddies over the years has made it feel like we had chatted last week!  It's funny how I feel closer to some of my blogging buddies than I do to some of my close friends that live far away.... just another great reason to not be so lazy and continue with mine I guess!  By quarter 'til one, the two of us were probably visibly tired and just trying not to show it and so we were happy when Elizabeth came over and said that she was ready to call it a night.  By the time we got back to her place it was already after 1:30am and I must say, I was quite proud of myself for hanging in there because this mama likes her sleep!  It was worth it to celebrate with my best friend though!

We would have loved to stay longer, but we had to head out pretty early the next morning as we both had things that we needed to get back home for.  On our way though we did spend about two hours at another friends' baby shower in Chattanooga (another one I hadn't seen for years) and there were some other familiar faces there, too.  It was just amazing to see some folks that I hadn't seen in a long time, hear about the great places their lives have taken them, and learn about their families.  It filled my heart with so much joy.

Needless to say, when I finally arrived home Saturday afternoon, I was pretty exhausted.  I managed to catch a little nap before we headed back out for the evening and actually felt pretty good for the remainder of the weekend!  I also realized later that this was officially Lilly's first girls' trip, too, and it makes me very excited to think about the trip that we will take together someday.  I used to get a little bit sad thinking about Jake going off with Daddy for a weekend of fishing or camping, but I know that this will be a big, special part of his life someday.  He is my little man and I know that I'll miss him like crazy and wish that I could be there, too.  But now I realize that on those weekends, I will have some girl-time with my little one where we can go have our fun, too!


  1. Love this post and you too!! I had so much fun with you and can't wait to do it again soon. Or at least, I can't wait to see you again soon :)

    Still laughing at our parking garage escapade. Hehe.

  2. p.s. I think there are plenty of people who may disagree with the 'nicest person ever' comment, but it made me smile nonetheless. LOVE YOU!

  3. It's my blog... they can disagree with me if they want to! :) Can't wait to see you again soon, too!