Wednesday, May 27, 2009

(Almost) A Week With Mike and Lesley

So it's hard to believe that Mike and Lesley's trip has come and gone already! (And that I started this blog post 6 days ago and am only just now getting back to it--sheesh!) We had an absolutely amazing time. I can't even say how fantastic it was. Unfortunately, I didn't get too many pictures, but oh well! I was too busy having the time of my life.

I picked them up in Richmond on Thursday morning. Leah and I went down early and we made a little flag that said, "Welcome Uncle Mike and Auntie Lesley!" to greet them with when they came through the security gate. Of course while we were waiting, Leah held court with the many passersby who admired her, but once Mike and Lesley arrived, all bets were off. They had packed light and so had all their gear with them, although Lesley ran afoul of the TSA by packing contact lens solution AND shampoo (naughty!).

We got back to the house before 11:00 and decided to get some Chinese food for lunch. We just hung around and caught up. It had been a year and a half since we'd all been together (seriously!? WTH?! That sucks! Never again!) and they needed to get acquainted with their new niece. Michael rolled in around 5:30 and we got to talking about dinner and decided to go to the new Fredericksburg Pub. Apparently we don't have enough shopping here in F'burg because outside our mall, a new shopping area is going in, and the Fredericksburg Pub is the premiere eatery and is actually open! Mike had sent me a list of restaurants he was curious about in the DC area, and I mentioned the pub to him, and he was sold. I knew Lesley and I would enjoy it and Michael loved it when we went the previous weekend, so we were off! We wound up sitting outside under some stereo speakers playing "Name That Band" and enjoyed the heck out of ourselves. We got home and discussed plans for Friday. Michael and Leah were both under the weather, and Lesley and Mike planned to go to DC on Saturday to meet Lesley's family who were visiting from Canada. We also planned to go to DC on Monday, so we decided we'd try to go to Charlottesville on Friday.

Leah chose Thursday night to throw one holy hell of a temper tantrum. Seriously, I called my mom at 11:00AM and I was like, "What am I going to do with this demon who has invaded my baby!?" Eventually Leah wore herself out, but it was rough going. Consequently, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep, so I wound up sleeping in a bit on Friday, which put us off to a late start. Happily, Mike and Lesley totally understood and were just ready to roll whenever we were. Michael decided to stay home, so the other 4 of us piled in the car and headed for Charlottesville--or so we thought.

We talked about where to eat lunch, and Mike said he'd like to go someplace where we could sit and relax. I thought about it and suggested a little place in Culpeper I know called It's About Thyme. Culpeper is on the way to Charlottesville if you don't take the backroads, and it seemed like a perfect spot to stop en route to Monticello, our ultimate destination. We got the restaurant and it was packed, so we wound up waiting about 20 minutes for a table. Mike amused himself by having Lesley pose making various gang signs and laughing his butt off. We were there for over an hour, and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch. But when we got out, we realized it would be kind of dumb to go to Charlottesville, as we wouldn't get there till at least 4:30 and there was probably a limited chance we'd get to go on the Monticello tour. Fortunately, flexibility was our name, and we decided to wander around Culpeper. Lesley and I found a tea shop and bought some raspberry curd (waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than lemon curd!) and we went to the visitor's center and various local shops. It was fun!

On the way back, we stopped off at the store so we could get the supplies for the 80 Plates: India dinner, and that was how we spent our Friday evening--cooking Indian food, hanging out, and relaxing.

Saturday morning, Lesley and Mike got ready and we drove them up to Springfield to get on the metro to go visit Lesley's family for the day. We had talked about the need to rent a car because we weren't sure that we would all be comfortable in the Kosiormobile with Lesley and I squished in around the carseat. But it worked out fine. And at first, I offered to let them take the car for the day on Saturday, but they didn't really feel comfortable leaving us without a car "in case something happened". So thoughtful, just one more reason I love them.

So Mike called a couple places--Enterprise didn't have anything. The second call was hilarious and went a little something like this:

Mike: I'd like to get a car for today.
Car Co.: It has to be back by noon. (it was 9am and they planned to be gone all day)
Mike: Ok, I'll keep it till tomorrow.
Car Co: We aren't open tomorrow.
Mike: Can't I drop it off?
Car Co: If you are near a major airport.
Mike: Ok, how much to have it till Monday?
Car Co: Monday is a holiday, we are closed.
Mike: How about this? You tell ME when I can drop the car off.

We were all cracking up. It wound up they'd have to keep the car till Tuesday and it would have been a lot of money, so we just said we'd drive them, not that Michael and I were especially worried about not having a car.

After we dropped them off, I needed a Starbucks run after another particularly late night and early morning with my WW weigh in. Then we headed to Judy and Lucas's for lunch at Bugsy's and then went home, where I was promptly sick as a dog from something I ate at lunch. I spent much of the afternoon in the bathroom, and we really didn't do much for dinner.

Because we'd decided to have a BBQ on Sunday for Memorial Day, and because we thought it was kind of crazy to have me drive all the way back to DC, Judy offered to drive Mike and Lesley to Woodbridge. So I decided we could meet at Wegman's so I could grocery shop for the BBQ. Mike had put in a special request that I make "coney sauce" for our hot dogs, a special chili sauce that Michael's mom is famous for. I needed to get the stuff for that as well as other items, and I wound up getting everything EXCEPT the stuff for the coney sauce. But I was too tired to go back through the store and get back in line, so I decided to go to Giant on Sunday.

We got home and everyone chattered for a while before turning in early.

Sunday was fun! Lesley and I did our book shopping excursion in the late morning and got the Mikes some fudge on our way back (which was promptly placed in the freezer and forgotten until Mike and Lesley were safely at home). Lesley got Leah a Beatrix Potter tea cup, which is now proudly on display in our china cupboard. I went to Giant and got the stuff we needed for the Coney Island sauce, came home and promptly lost the recipe card from my mother-in-law. Consequently, I started guessing what went into it, since I'd read the recipe so many times and had a fair idea. Finally Michael called his mom to find out the real deal, and I had only messed up a little bit by adding 3 tablespoons of vinegar instead of 3 teaspoons. It was also supposed to simmer for 2 hours, but we didn't have that kind of time. We were hungry!

We had our little BBQ with Judy and Lucas and Dottie down to visit. They arrived mid-afternoon bearing dessert (Smores pie) and I sparked up the grill. Soon we were all gathered around the table munching on dogs and burgers, corn on the cob, macaroni salad, cole slaw, coney island sauce, chips, the works. It was GOOD. For dessert, Judy broke out the Smores pie, which had melted all over the place and was threatening to take over. Fortunately she'd had the foresight to put a cookie sheet under it before driving it down here or I don't know what she'd have done for her car! Melissa stopped by while we were all sitting around outside on the front porch--it was a gorgeous day. We hung around into the late hours of the evening and then Melissa departed, Leah finally fell asleep, and we all turned in to prepare for our DC excursion!

It was at this point I realized how quickly time was flying and how badly that sucked. Back just after we got home with Leah, I remember thinking that she filled a hole I didn't even know existed in our lives--we knew we had wanted children, but we didn't know or were nervous about how she would fit in or we would change to fit in with her, and it turned out she just sort of slid in and completed us. Well, the same sort of feeling happened with Mike and Lesley. When they first got here, we were hanging out downstairs and Mike said, "Your house just feels like home. It's so comfortable." (What an awesome thing to say about someone's house, by the way!) and having them here made it feel like everything was full circle. So we started joking about them moving in, but it was only half a joke. At least on my end. (Although Mike started looking at apartments in DC when they got back :-D)

So anyway, Monday we all got moving a little later in the morning--everyone was so laid back that we just didn't care if we didn't leave the house at 9:00 or at noon. We left around 11:30 and Lesley and I decided our first stop was to go to the Library of Congress. What an amazingly beautiful building! I had never been there before, and I was blown away by it. We just walked around, saw the Gutenberg Bible, looked in the exhibit halls. We did not take the tour, but I plan to next time. They had a beautiful room with Thomas Jefferson's library in it, which made me feel like such a dumbass--the guy had some very high brow reading selections--with amazing curved shelves that Lesley and I immediately coveted. It was actually the only room where we saw any books!

Afterwards, we went to the LOC store and I got Lesley a T-shirt that said, "I cannot live without books. --Thomas Jefferson" So cool! We went outside to take some more pictures.

It must suck to be the woman in this fountain and get smacked in the face by water all day long

After we left LOC, we decided to go to Union Station for lunch. We all wanted something light because we had plans to go to Elephant and Castle for dinner. Plus, you can park at Union Station for a dollar. So all in all, it is the smart choice. We had lunch at Johnny Rockets, where Mike ordered the chicken fingers and got a whole 3 of them. Ha! But we made up for it by going upstairs to the Godiva chocolate shop, where I got my traditional chocolate covered strawberry and we got truffles to share with the men. It was then that Leah needed to be well and truly changed and I decided to put her in some clothes that actually fit. I thought that for Memorial Day, I would put her in a "Born in the USA" shirt that my sister had given us as a hand-me-down from Dottie. However, the entire outfit was waaaaaaaaaay too small! How'd Leah get so big already!? Still, you gotta love that belly hanging out.

I had decided it would be fun for us to go to Madame Tussaud's Museum. I took Michael to the Times Square one when we went sightseeing in NYC a few years ago and we had a blast, so I thought it'd be fun to go to the new one in DC now that it is open. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a parking spot over there, so the 2 Mikes decided to circle while Lesley, Leah, and I went in and had fun with the wax figures.

I've been to the original museum in London, which is FABULOUS, and the NYC one is great. Honestly, I think they need to keep working on DC, there's not too much in there. We got stuck behind a big group of Indian tourists, so we kind of skirted around them and then went back through when things got quieter.Lesley met a hunky dude while we were there and he seemed to like her too.

She was also strictly interrogated by J. Edgar Hoover about her possible activities in the service of Canada, but she told him, "You'll never take me alive, flat head!" and he let her go with a warning.

Meanwhile, Leah and I hobnobbed with the Kennedys and President Obama.

Finally, we all partied with Brangelina and then it was time to find the men.

(Sorry, Ange, this is one baby you can't adopt!)

Lesley bought Leah a little sign in the gift shop that says "Leah Way"--as in, it's Leah's Way or No Way! So cute--I put it up in her room. Then we found Mike and Mike sitting in the car, they had found a parking space right outside the museum, but decided to sit and gossip catch up while we were inside.

Then it was time to head to Elephant and Castle for dinner. We had a wonderful meal there--Mike and I both got the fish and chips to compare to the fish and chips we got at the Fredericksburg Pub. I can't claim a preference either way, both were outstanding. We shared some appetizers, and just had a wonderful time. Mike and I took pictures of each other--the other half of this series is on his Facebook profile. Lesley tried the stuffed Yorkshire pudding that I had when Michael and I went before the Christopher Guest concert. She agreed with me that it wasn't a traditional Yorkshire, but was still pretty darned good!

Then it was time to head back to the 'burg, our DC day ended. Time was going way to freakin' quickly! We got back around 8:30 and then Lesley and I printed out our 40% off coupons and headed to Borders. Borders was having a pretty decent sale, plus all their steeply discounted books were Buy One Get One, so I got 2 books for $3 and then 2 more, one of which was 40% off. I walked out with 4 books for $23. AWESOME!

We came home and watched the season premiere of Intervention and the series premiere of Obsessed, both of which were fantastic. A&E's documentary series are top notch. And then it was bed time!

Tuesday morning dawned way too quickly--the day Mike and Lesley were leaving. *SIGH SIGH SIGH* They packed up in the morning and then we drove to Quantico, where we were harrassed by the guard at the gate for having a "faded decal". BFD, buddy. The General was waiting for us and we grabbed him and went down to Jimmy The Greek's restaurant in Stafford for lunch. YUM. I had the chicken souvlaki and it was fantastic! We took Michael back to work and then we headed to Fredericksburg with an increasingly cranky Leah to do a little geocaching. We managed to find one cache before Leah had a total meltdown and then we went home. Lesley used the time to research and buy Leah a high chair (THANKS AGAIN!) and then we headed out to Richmond to the airport. SIGH SIGH SIGH.

It was a tearful (on my part at least) good-bye! I was so sad to pull away from the airport and watch them head inside. Fortunately, Leah was good almost all the way back home, until about 3 miles before our exit when she started crying. When I got home, I started blubbering again, but managed to regain my composure after a little while. It was such an amazing visit. I am determined not to let another 18 months pass before we see each other again. We are talking about getting a beach house in Myrtle Beach next spring, but I hope Michael and I can get to Atlanta before that.

Thanks, Mike and Lesley, for totally spoiling us rotten during your visit. We love you so much and are so thankful that fate threw us all together in New England!!!

1 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Lesley said...

You weren't the only one tearing up! It's also always worse being the one left. What a great week though, and this post will always be a reminder of that.

So when are you coming down???

Much love and big hugs!