Sunday, January 18, 2009

January Trips

I am a little behind on our blog so I decided to combine two posts into one. Our trip total for 2009 so far = 2.


Since we have been married Charlie and I have had a tradition of going somewhere each year for New Year's. This year we decided to spend a quiet New Year's Eve at home (we were all alseep well before midnight) and headed out first thing on New Year's Day instead. Chris & Carly were in Henderson visiting Carly's parents for the holidays, so we drove up to see them. We stayed at a hotel just a few minutes away from the Wilkins' house, but we spent most of our time hanging out at their house anyway. A big thank you to the Wilkins' for taking us in!

Isaac brushing his teeth at the hotel

Isaac at the hotel breakfast buffet. He loved the french toast & sausage.

I always regert not taking more pictures! Isaac had a great time playing with his cousins outside on the swing set and inside with all of the many many toys, and was spoiled by Grandma Wilkins with plenty of treats. He loved all of the space to run around in and climing up and down the stairs too.

On Friday afternoon we took the kids to a nearby mall so that they could all ride the carousel. They got to ride not once, but twice!

Ginny, Carly, Lucy, Chris & Asher

Charlie, Isaac & Carrie

Carly, Chris, Charlie & Carrie. Can you tell which two are twins?

On Friday night the Wilkins were so nice to baby sit Isaac along with Chris & Carly's kids so we could all go out to dinner. We met up with Carly's friends Holly & Mark and had a nice dinner at Macayo's - a local Mexican favorite. Or at least it was a favorite until everyone ended up with food poisoning later that night! (Somehow I managed to aviod getting it though, lucky me!)

One of the highlights of the trip for me was our multiple stops at Sonic. I know I have mentioned this before, but I absolutely LOVE Sonic. Actually, it is one particular drink that I truly love and the tricky thing is that not all of the Sonics can make it right. My drink is a Route 44 Low Cal Cherry Limeade Slush. But some Sonics don't make it Low Cal and they add tons of sugary syrup to it. No good. And sometimes they make it carbonated. That is wrong too! And sometimes they put way too much slush and not enough juice. But sometimes they make it just right and then I absolutely love it! And Isaac loves it too...

Carly, Chris, Charlie & Ginny working on the Disney puzzle

It was a very quick trip to Henderson, but luckily it was a pretty quick drive too. We left on Saturday rather than Sunday hoping to avoid the New Year's traffic coming home from Vegas. We were slowed down for awhile at the CA Agriculture Inspection (totally pointless!), but other than that it was not bad. We were home for less than a week before leaving for....


Charlie has to go to Atlanta every year in January for work. And I have to go to Atlanta every year in January for fun. :) I occasionaly get to tag along on Charlies business trips because he has so many airline miles saved up. Since he is Executive Platinum on American Airlines he gets double miles every time he flies. And he flies quite a bit which equals lots of miles. Our trip to Italy a few years ago, our recent trip to Paris, and all of our trips to Hawaii have been on miles, plus lots of other little trips along the way too. It is a great perk of having a traveling husband!

So this trip to Atlanta is always one of my favorites. We stay in the JW Marriott, and the hotel just happens to be connected to the Lenox Square Mall. And in January there are always tons of after Christmas sales. I have gotten some great deals there in the past! I also love Atlanta because of the yummy Southern food and the people are so friendly there. So a fantastic hotel, nice mall, awesome sales, great food, and friendly people make for a pretty good weekend!

Isaac enjoying the room service

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the JW Marriott also has one of my favorite room service menu items (I think the lobster rolls at the Surf & Sand in Laguna Beach are still my number one!). It is their "healthy" french toast made with whole wheat toast and coated in some kind of crunchy vanilla cereal coating and topped with fresh fruit. So yummy! I did mention that I go to Atlanta for the food, right?

We left on a Thursday and it took an entire day to get there. Our flight from Dallas to Atlanta was first delayed and then cancelled so we ended up with a 4 hour layover at DFW. By the time we finally landed in Atlanta, got our rental car, and drove to the hotel it was after midnight EST. And Isaac had not taken a nap the entire day! When we got to the hotel they told us that they were oversold and they sent us across the street to the Ritz Carlton instead. Even though it was really inconvenient we were kind of excited because neither of us had ever stayed at a Ritz. Well the lobby was beautiful, the whole place smelled wonderful, the staff was very nice (maybe that's just Atlanta though?), and the elevator even had a chandelier in it! But then the room... it was just alright. It was nice, but not really much nicer than the JW Marriott. The bed was really comfortable though, and they had Bvlgari soaps and shampoos in the bathroom which was nice. And even though Isaac's crib was the standard metal hotel crib, the Ritz actually put bumper pads and baby bedding in it which was nice. The only big downside was that the rooms don't have bathtubs. 17 months ago we could not have cared less about a bathtub. But now we have Isaac and so we care. Because he hates the shower and we didn't want a dirty kid all weekend! So the next morning we checked out and moved back over the JW Marriott.

Charlie & Isaac waiting in the terminal

Isaac at the hotel playing with his cell phone and the real phone too

While Charlie did some work on Friday Isaac and I headed over to the mall. Shopping with Isaac is usually pretty impossible. He is very impatient and only tolerates the stroller as long as we are moving. If I stop to look he throws a fit. Unless he has some juice or goldfish to keep him occupied. Well I lucked out because on this day the impossible happened. Isaac fell asleep IN HIS STROLLER!!! I was completely shocked. Maybe it had something to do with no nap the day before and staying up past 2:00 am? Maybe I should try that more often! j/k But I bet a few people wondered why I had such a huge smile on my face while strolling through the mall with a sleeping toddler. Unfortunately I didn't find too many fantastic deals this year, but it was still really nice to be able to shop in peace.

That night for dinner we wanted to find a place with really good Southern food for dinner. We went to place two years ago that the conceirge had recommended and we loved it, but this concierge had no idea what we were talking about. We tried searching through the restaurant list on our navigation, and ended up just driving around looking for something. Isaac was getting tired though and we weren't having any luck so we ended up at some buffet style place. It was nothing special. Except for the rolls. The rolls were fantastic!

On Saturday Charlie had to work for most of the day. Isaac & I drove downtown with him but then we headed over to the Georgia Aquarium. It is the largest in the world and was rather impressive. For the first few exhibits Isaac was completely mesmorized. They were more and more tanks every way we turned with different kinds of fish, crabs, jellyfish, turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins, rays, eels, otters, sea horses, etc. Some of the tanks were up over our heads on the ceiling. There was a tunnel tank that you could walk through, and there were open tanks where you could touch the things inside. Isaac loved it! We spent almost 5 hours there but that included lunch and a nap. Again, Isaac was so tired that this time he fell asleep in my arms! I found an empty ballroom and laid him down to sleep in the corner (kinda unsanitary - I know... but we're talking about the same kid who is drawn like a magnet to every trash can he sees, so I figured this couldn't be much worse). So we had a fun time at the aquarium and then went back to meet Charlie as he finished up his work meetings.

Isaac pointing at the fish

My favorite tank at the aquarium

Georgia Aquarium

That night for dinner we set out again to find a good Southern place. First we were going to try The Flying Biscuit (featured on Rachel Ray's $40 a Day) but when we got there we found out they are not open for dinner. Once again we ended up driving in circles with our navigation looking for something good. And then... we found IT! The restaurant we ate at two years ago! Charlie spotted it and we both knew right away that was the place. But what we hadn't remembered was that this place is located in the middle of the porn district. It is totally surrounded by strip clubs and porn shops and the like. I felt like we were back at the Moulin Rouge! There was a bit of a wait but we decided it was worth it, and it was. We had chicken fried chicken, chicken friend steak, macaroni & cheese, and onion rings, fried okra, sweet potato souflet, cornbread, and rolls. Yum! Just as good as we remembered. And we found out from our waitress that this place was featured on the Food Network too! On Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. See, we knew it was good! The Colonade, in case you are wondering, and now we'll know where to go again next year. Except I have to warn you if you do go, it is known as the "Gay & Gray" restaurant. All the old people and all the gays eat here. Can't say that I blame them - it is great food!

Sunday morning we got our chance to go back to The Flying Biscuit. We met up with Charlie's friend Jeff for breakfast. We were a little disappointed though. This place didn't quite live up to all the hype. And the portions were so small that Charlie actually had to stop and get more food after we left! It was nice to see Jeff though.

Charlie & Jeff at The Flying Biscuit

Carrie & Isaac at The Flying Biscuit

We headed back to the airport, and then two flights later, plus a stop to pick up Cracker, and then we were home!