Monday, February 23, 2015

Our Wedding Day

I've shared before how we met, and other things about our relationship, but I don't know that I've ever shared about our wedding day.  If I have, it was so long ago that I don't remember, so here ya go:
 
John had to move out of his apartment the week before our wedding, so the plan was that he would stay with his parents for that last week before we got married.  His dad got the flu, so that was the end of that plan.  He went ahead and moved in with me.  We couldn't take the risk that he would be sick on our wedding and honeymoon!  However, he spent the night at a hotel the night before the wedding, so we wouldn't see each other the day of the wedding.  My maid-of-honor, Tanya, spent the night with me, and I guarantee we slept better than poor John in the hotel room.
 
It was February 23, 2008.  John had made coffee for Tanya and I so it was all ready the next morning, and I woke up nervous but excited.  Not nervous about getting married, but nervous about everything being just right, and nothing going wrong.  I took a shower and left my hair wet, and Tanya and I headed to the salon to get my hair and makeup done for the wedding.  When we got there, the girl who was supposed to do my hair (my regular stylist was out of town) wasn't there, but another girl was.  She said, "Hey Ali!  Don't worry.  Everything will be fine."  I was like, um, what? Ok?  She said the girl who planned to do my hair was sick, so she was doing it instead.  I just laughed, funny that she thought that would throw me off.  It was perfectly fine with me!  She did my hair and makeup and I loved it!!  (A little side note: I never went to prom.  I always wanted to but never had a date and people just didn't go by themselves. So since I never went to prom, I never had the chance to get my hair done wearing a button up shirt so I could change later without messing it up.  It may sound silly, but I'd always wanted to do that.  I finally got my chance!)
 
Tanya and I headed to the church next, but while we were getting my hair and makeup done, unbeknownst to me, John had gone by the house and left me a sweet card about how happy he was to be marrying me!  He had taken our rental Mercedes and washed it, even though it was about 35 degrees outside, and made everything perfect.  I didn't get my card until we got back from our honeymoon because we went straight to the church, ha!
 
It was supposed to be mid-fifties that day, but turned out to be mid-thirties, so we were pretty cold when we took our outside photos, but neither of us cared!  This was my mom's favorite:

We got to the church and kind of just waited for everyone else to arrive.  My sweet ladies were already decorating, our sweet friends were in the kitchen cooking and it was finally happening - I was GETTING MARRIED!  I wasn't sure I ever would, so it was such a fabulous day for me.  The cake arrived a little later than I planned and so did my (amazeballs) photographer, but none of that mattered.  The wedding went off without a hitch, no problems at all, no mishaps, no issues.  It was beautiful and I think my guests would agree...I had the best wedding food ever.
 
After the reception, we left in our rented Mercedes, stopped at my mom's house to change clothes, so she could return John's tux while we were gone, and headed to our hotel, the Tutwiler in Birmingham.  We had the honeymoon suite package for the night and it was a gorgeous room!  They had champagne and strawberries for us, and a key engraved with our name and wedding date.  We went out for dinner because we didn't get to eat much at the wedding and we were starving!  When we checked out the next morning, we had a surprise - my dad had called and paid for our room!  We drove to Savannah, Georgia to start our real honeymoon and we've been laughing and loving ever since.
 
Happy 7 years John!  I love you even more now than I did then!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New York - The Travel

So, we woke up Sunday morning to an e-mail cancelling our flight home for later that afternoon.  We got on the phone and secured a flight for the next day, called Tootsie to secure Fitz for one more night, booked another hotel room, and then went to brunch.  We weren't too disappointed to have one more night in the big city, and started planning our day.  It was a great day together and we were thankful for more time together.
 
We woke up Monday morning and our first flight from NYC to Washington, D.C. was still on.  We got to the airport with time to spare, settled in to watch for celebrities, and waited on our flight.  It was on time and we got to DC around 1:00.
 As soon as I turned my phone on, I had an e-mail cancelling our next flight from DC to Birmingham.  Seriously?  Again??  We got in the customer service line and I got on the phone, too.  The lady on the phone said no flights were available.  I told her to look in Atlanta, Montgomery, Nashville, anywhere near Birmingham.  Nothing.  We got up to the desk and the man found us two seats on the 8:00 flight to Birmingham.  (Our original flight was at 6, so this was not bad at all.)  We discussed driving home and laughed and said that was ludicrous and we were so thankful to get a flight.  We ate lunch, bought a book for each of us to read and settled in to people watch for the next 6 hours.
 
As we waited, the snow started falling...
 We were a little concerned, but the board kept saying our flight was on time, so we just kept reading, and waiting.
 Every flight got cancelled but ours was holding strong.  Eventually, I went to the restroom and I heard one of the employees say that everything was going to be cancelled.  I laughed and told John she had no idea what she was talking about, ours was fine.  At about 7:00, the board changed and said we were delayed until 8:37.  Ok, still good to go.  Well, at about 7:05, I got an email that it was cancelled.  Again.  We got back in line, only to be told the next flight we could get would probably be Wednesday.  I may have lost it a little bit at that point.  John would say I definitely did.  Have I mentioned that John and I fit so well together that when I freak out he is always calm?  It's like my craziness brings out his calm.  We got to the counter and the agent was ... um, special is the best way I can describe it.  Why they would put him on customer service duty in a blizzard is freaking beyond me, but I may have yelled at him a little bit.  We told him we would just have to rent a car and to please tell us where to get our luggage.
 
We went to baggage claim and there were bags EVERYWHERE.  Luggage just strewn all over the place.  Don't leave your bags unattended?  Right out the window.  After TWO HOURS, much yelling and maybe a curse word or two, the belt spit our bags out.  We headed down to the rental car place ( I reserved a car on the phone while we waited), and asked a cop where to go on our way.  He asked where we were driving to (a legit question since it was a BLIZZARD) and when we said Birmingham, he said it would take 24 hours to get there.  I'm not sure what I said exactly, but John told me later that I made the man cry.  In my defense, it did NOT take us anywhere near 24 hours to get home.
 
We requested a 4 wheel drive vehicle and they gave us one...a Kia Sorento.  I thought John's head might pop right off.  We got in, got the GPS going, and headed out into the blizzard.
 
We couldn't see anything but snow and tail lights.  No roads, no lanes, nothing.  We followed the GPS directions and just headed out.  I told John I just wanted to get out far enough from the city that it wouldn't be a problem the next morning.  He was so nervous he didn't say a word.  I could tell we shouldn't be driving so I started praying (I'd been praying but not specifically about driving).  I prayed that God would tell us when to get off the interstate and direct us to a hotel that had room for us.  Right after I said the prayer, the route on the GPS changed and had us getting off at the next exit!  I told John and he was so relieved.  We got off, and there were 5 hotels right at the exit.  The first one we got to had room for us, praise God!!  It was midnight by then, 5 hours after we found out our flight was cancelled.  We got a vending machine snack and went right to sleep.
 
When we got up Tuesday morning, 6 more inches of snow had fallen.  All of the cars at the hotel were buried.  John had to help one man push his car out, and had to scrape ours off so we could leave, but once we were on the road, we were fine!  They had the plows going and the roads were wet and slushy but not icy, and we were good to go!

 
Once we were on the road and actually heading south, we both calmed down a lot!  We enjoyed gorgeous scenery through about 6 hours of Virginia.



 
 We sang, talked and laughed about how long it takes to drive through flipping Virginia.  FOREVER!


 
 I've  never been so happy to see Tennessee in my whole life!!

 Bless John's heart - he just had to pull out a paper map.  I told him it's the same map as in my phone but he just had to spread it all out!
 As we drove south, the roads got clearer and clearer.  The trees in TN were especially beautiful.  They had ice the night before instead of snow, so it looked like we were driving through an ice forest and I loved it!!
 But not as much as I loved seeing this sign:
 And nothing was better than seeing this sight the next day:
We left Virginia at 8:00 Tuesday morning, drove to the Birmingham airport to exchange cars, and got home to Fitz and Tootsie at 8:15 that night.  (See?  NOT 24 hours)  I'm so thankful for our trip and our safe journey home, even though it was 48 hours after we should have been home.  I'm so glad we had Tootsie and Uncle Zac to keep Fitz safe and happy, too!  It was an amazing adventure but next year we are heading SOUTH.

Friday, February 20, 2015

New York - The Trip!

Yes, I went to New York just a few months ago, but that was a fabulous girls only trip, and this time I went with my sweet husband for an early anniversary trip, so hush it, ok?  This was our view as we were about to land...snow:
We took a cab to our hotel, got checked in and set out to find Grand Central Station so we could have lunch there.  I pulled it up on Google Maps on my phone, and we spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out which way to start walking when we decided to just ask the doorman at the hotel.  He kind of smirked and pointed across the street and said, "Right there."  Um, ok so maybe there was an entrance right across the street but we are from ALABAMA and had no idea there were "rat holes" (John's description) all over the place where you could enter and end up in GCS.  So, we walked right across the street and went on in the tunnels.
 
Our first meal of the trip was a burger and fries from Shake Shack...YUM.
 We explored it a little after lunch, then hopped on the subway (Remember when I was so scared of it before? I'm over it apparently) to Times Square to check it out.  Did you know there is a FERRIS WHEEL inside the Toys-R-Us??

 It was Valentine's weekend, and they had this huge heart in the middle of Times Square.  It had drums on the sides so you could play them and make the heart "beat."  So cute.
 We walked down to Macy's at Herald Square after that, then rode the subway back to GCS and to our room to rest a bit.  We had dinner at a small place near our hotel, and went back to eat cheesecake in bed while we watched Scandal.
 
Friday morning we went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.  John really wanted to see this and I didn't want to go somewhere so depressing on Valentine's Day, so Friday it was.  It was really beautiful outside with the reflecting pools...but SO cold. Like 10 degrees.  Seriously.


 Inside was really moving, and yes, somewhat depressing, but I'm so glad we went.  Below is the last column that stood at the World Trade Center.  Lots of fire departments and police "signed" it.  The stairway is what they called the Survivor Steps...it was the staircase the people who could escape the buildings used to get down.  They preserved them at the museum.

 
 In one part of the exhibit, they had news clips running from 9/11 and it was so eerie to watch it all again, in New York City, where it happened.  They had recorded voice mails from people saying goodbye to their spouses, 911 phone calls, notes left by people who didn't survive, and even an abandoned bike rack with bikes still attached which were never claimed.  That part was really sad, for all those people who lost their lives in such a senseless way, for no reason at all other than evil.
 
We took a cab across the Brooklyn Bridge to eat pizza at Grimaldi's which is listed as one of the top places to eat in NYC, and has been recommended to me by friends.  I kinda wanted to walk across the bridge, but it was seriously 10 degrees and windy, so we hopped in a cab instead.  There was no line and we went right in to eat.  We may have devoured a large pizza by ourselves.  So good.

 We started talking to the people next to us and they told us where to go to take some pretty pictures while we were on that side of the bridge...I'm SO glad they did!  Of course we had to start with a selfie:
 No filter on this gorgeous sky:
 We took the subway back over to Manhattan and walked through the West Village, Greenwich Village, and Union Square then made our way over to Central Park, FAO Schwarz, and Tiffany!

 We had dinner at Smith & Wollensky, and this fabulous dessert, both of which we highly recommend!
 Valentine's Day was COLD and WINDY, but so much fun, too!  First we went to Battery Park and rode the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty.  It was on John's bucket list, and I'm glad we were able to do it even in the cold.
 We had tickets to go up to the pedestal and brrrr it was even colder up there!  Look how close we were though!

 Next up - Chinatown and Little Italy for shopping and lunch!

 We may have picked up a few things in Chinatown, just souvenirs you know?
 We went back to Times Square later to see the night time Valentines crazies and were not disappointed.



 Sunday morning we woke up to a flight cancellation (more on that in the next post), and then had brunch at Sarabeth's.  The food was amazing, but the service was awful.  I had pumpkin pancakes and we shared a chicken and apple sausage which sounds horrible but was actually really good:
 We got a new hotel room at the Hilton Fashion District and it was FAB!  So modern and pretty!  Since we were on that side of town, we walked down to Chelsea Market for a little shopping.
 I got this gorgeous ring, and we may or may not have ended up on a trailer for a new reality show.
 
Totally random, but look at this service dog we saw.  He was the fluffiest thing I've ever seen.  I loved him!

 
I tried to show John the High Line but it was approximately 4 degrees with up to 60 mph wind gusts and we just about got frostbite up there in the air, so we didn't even get a picture up there.  COLD.  We went to a movie theater that afternoon where they show some of the movies for the Tribeca Film Festival.  John had been wanting to see American Sniper and we had to get in out of the cold, so we headed there.  We got our tickets and the guy said, "I just have to let you know, the heat is out in that theater."  Great.  We decided to try it anyway and just snuggled up and enjoyed the show.  It kind of pulled it all together to see that movie after going to the 9/11 museum and memorial.  We really enjoyed it.


 
We had such a great trip together!  We people-watched, laughed, joked about how many women have no idea that leggings are NOT pants, saw a band called Audible Chocolate in the subway playing music, got undressed for security check points approximately 578 times and laughed because John got wanded at every single one because you know, he looks like a terrorist, marveled at how many men in NYC wear full length fur coats, took way too many selfies and posted them all on social media.  We had lots of good food and good drinks, too.  We walked miles and miles and climbed tons of subway stairs.  We celebrated the heck out of 7 years of marriage, just a few days early, and can not wait to see what city we decide to check out next!
 
Come back soon for the other part of our adventure:  New York - The Travel.