Friday, November 19, 2010

Rewind and Recap: far!

Well, November is just over halfway finished, and we've already had an eventful time. It's going to end up being one of those months where we're away almost as much as we're home, which means a lot of travel, a lot of fun, and a lot of craziness.

Our first event this month was ACCA Nationals with the Emmaus Lady Eagles. The top eight teams in the ACCA qualify for the National Tournament, which was held in Kansas City, Missouri this year. Iain and I headed down on Wednesday morning, and Neil and the team joined us Wednesday night. They played three days of intense volleyball, against other teams from all over the country. The girls played really well, beating out a higher seeded team to make it to the semi-finals, and barely loosing a championship spot to the home team in four sets. It was nice to be able to go along and spend time with the girls, and it's always fun to stay at a nice hotel and have some fun that is outside of the normal routine. It was especially nice to be with Neil, and not to have to explain to Iain constantly, or four straight days, that Daddy wasn't here! (He can barely make it through Neil's work day without breaking down in despair that Daddy isn't here, and for the last 15 minutes or so before Neil's home, heaven help us if there's a noise at the back door, or the cat jumps down in another room!)

Iain did really well on the trip. I was dreading the 7 hours in the car with him by myself, but he was just fine both ways; it was his best road trip ever! He slept well in the hotel, thoroughly enjoyed the pool (and now goes "simming" in the bathtub...!) and even sat still long enough to watch most all of their games! It helped that he had learned to yell "EA-GOOS!!" I have to say though, his highlight of the trip was Friday night's dinner at Red Robin, when "Red" came out to visit. I've rarely seen Iain so excited (and so thoroughly confused!) as he looked back and forth from the bird to us, repeating "Izza bird-a! Izza bird-a!!", offering fist bumps and kisses and patting red's beak!
2010 Emmaus Lady Eagles
"Izza bird-a!"
The trip to KC marked the end of volleyball season, and we've spent the last few weeks recovering from our busy fall! The time change has been a bit tough to get used to (...for us, not Iain! He did fine after the first weekend...we're the ones in bed before 9pm every night!) along with the never failing darkness of winter setting in early. It's been fun to get back in the swing of things with cooking together, church events, and having a bit more free time for family fun.

Our other big event this November was our FIFTH anniversary! It's hard to believe it was five years ago that Neil and I said "I do" and promised "to have and to hold, from this day forth". In one way, it seems like I can't remember a time when we weren't married! And so much has happened and changed in our lives, that it certainly feels much longer than that. But on the other hand, when I think back to our wedding day, it feels like it could have been last week. We still love everything about that day, and would do it just the same, if we had to do it all over again (although Mum and Dad might wish to be spared from all the work and headaches they endured for us!) and we think that is a good sign! A huge THANK YOU to all of you, who helped make that day so special, five years ago...we still appreciate it!

Thanks to Mom and Dad Pitman, we were able to spend a fabulous weekend away together, while Iain had a weekend holiday at "Gama and Gampa's" house. It was so nice to reminisce, stay up late, sleep in, relax, enjoy nice dinners and just spend time focusing on each other. We sure wouldn't trade Iain for the world, but it was really nice to have this time away alone. And it really made us realize how much we used to take for granted our "old life", and how we could just do all of those things whenever we felt like it. We missed our boy though, and were ready to get back to "real life" when we got home. Here's what we did:

Friday night: We dropped Iain off for his holiday, and drove to Vernon Hills, IL. I know...not the most charming anniversary location, with its "outskirts of Chicago, suburban, shopping center- laden feel", but we had found an awesome free hotel with our reward points that sold us! We enjoyed an awesome dinner at Green Basil Kitchen Thai Restaurant, complete with appetizers, green and red curry Thai, good conversation, and no rushing!
Then we checked into our hotel, and it was not a disappointment! It was a brand new Hotel Indigo, which had a cool, modern, boutique vibe, mixed with what I imagine would have been a Vegas hotel in the '60s feel! It was a suite-nice and spacious, and a perfect weekend hideout! We stayed up late, (with no worries about being woken up early in the morning!) reminisced, cracked open a bottle of our "anniversary wine", a 2005 Baco Noir (which I can tell you, from my few sips, gets better with age, just like a marriage!) listened to music, talked, laughed, and had a wonderful anniversary night! The fifth is the "wood" anniversary, and we both capitalized on that for part of our gifts, with Neil choosing bamboo cutting boards I'd been coveting, and me finding some specialty beer, aged in oak barrels for him. I did a "five for five" theme, with one gift for each "year", and each "symbol" for the past five: paper (a Harry Potter cookbook), cotton (PJs, which we both sported for a good portion of the weekend!), leather (a playlist of songs from our last five years, on our leather-clad ipod), flowers (made of gumpaste, on chocolate ganache cupcakes), and wood. Neil completely made my day by choosing me a beautiful necklace, the first jewelery he's purchased since my engagement ring! You'll see it in the photo below, along with my PJs, which somehow contrive to look like a business suit, and when coupled with my glasses and wine glass, make me look more like a high-powered exec. than I ever have, or ever will in my life!
Saturday: After a lovely sleep-in, we headed out for a delicious breakfast, including fresh-squeezed orange juice, at Elly's pancake house. We spent the day in nearby Libertyville, looking in downtown shops, walking and talking in the blustery wind and rain.
After a short nap at the hotel, we got gussied up and headed out for dinner at "Philly G's", which we think is the stupidest name ever for a fancy restaurant! But although it evokes the impression of a sports bar that serves Philly cheese-steak, this place was beautiful and delicious! It is family run, in a big old house, very intimate and unique. Neil had the best steak au poivre we've ever tried (we're going to try to duplicate it this weekend!) and I enjoyed fresh pasta with spinach, proscuitto and a vodka cream sauce. Then it was back to the hotel, for more relaxing, staying up late, and sleeping in!
Sunday: We woke up late, and skipped breakfast to stay in bed. We hit up Five Guys (on Graeme's recommendation!) for lunch instead. We give it two thumbs up...especially the fries, which taste just like they came from the Up North chip truck! Then we headed to Barnes and Noble where we spent a couple of hours drinking coffee, reading, and talking. (To those of you without kids, perhaps that doesn't sound exciting... but oh what at treat it was!)
We headed home, excited to see our little man, wondering if he missed us, certain he'd be glad to see us. We arrived at the Pitmans to find this...
...and oh boy...when we woke that snugly little sleeper up, it was not the joyous reunion we were expecting! He cried as we packed his stuff in the car, cried as we put on his coat and bundled him into the carseat, cried all the way home, cried all through dinner...! It took a good hour and a half before he was actually happy to see us, and the only saving grace that we had was that we'd brought him a "new puzzle", which he repeated as he carried it around the rest of the night! It really was a wonderful weekend...and Mom and Dad...thank you again so much! This was the best gift a person could get...and we know (obviously!) that Iain had a great time too!

We have a lovely, lazy weekend ahead of us, followed by a trip to Canada for Thanksgiving. We're praying baby doesn't make an early arrival while we're there, and are very excited to see our family and friends, and take a trip one last time as a family of three. Stay tuned for more...we'll be back soon!

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