Picnics, Parks, and Parades

Since last week was my last week off before starting my part time job at Anthro and new PRN position at OrthoSports, I took advantage of the spring weather and free time each day. On Monday, John and I made a trip to the Birmingham Public Library. While I usually go to Emmet O'Neal, we occasionally make the trip downtown. One thing that I do love about that library is the artwork. They have exhibits that change, but the mural that greets visitors upon entry is on permanent display and I just love it.

On Tuesday, John and I had the rare opportunity to see our friends Elizabeth and Collin. Elizabeth currently lives in Nashville and Collin in Atlanta. So, anytime they are in the area, we take advantage of the time we have with them. When they said they had no preference regarding where to eat dinner, John and I racked our brains and finally decided on Chez Lulu. While their soups, salads, and sandwiches are dainty, fresh, and super tasty- for dinner, I prefer one of their pizzas. Their crust is made with spent grain from Good People Brewery and is to die for. That with a glass of their house cabernet and a side goat cheese, pear and roasted walnut salad is a must try (a bonus would be to enjoy it outside on their patio).

After dinner, we split ways with Elizabeth and Collin and went downtown to catch the Birmingham Mardi Gras Parade. The event was free, open to the public and held in the Five Points South area. While small, it was still fun to see cars, floats, and people all decked out to celebrate Fat Tuesday. We even got to see our friend Noe walk in the parade with the Tragic City Rollers, Birmingham's awesome roller derby team!

Wednesday John and I pulled an old date out of our hats and went to the Books-A-Million for a bookstore date. Last time, our printer didn't work so I had to hand write all of the instructions, but this go around I printed off some fancy ones. The date is pretty much a scavenger hunt around a bookstore for certain books or items within a book to share with one another. Some of the things that we looked for included: "Find a recipe, take a picture of it and plan to make it for your love", "Find your favorite childhood book and read it to your date", "Find a funny quiz in a magazine and give it to your date to take", "Find a hilarious joke and read it aloud to your date". My favorite mission was the one that included reading your favorite childhood book aloud to one another. Both of us really like Love You Forever, but decided to branch out and share some of our other favorites. I chose The Rainbow Fish and John chose The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Even though it may have looked a little silly for two grown adults to be reading books aloud in the children's section with no children around- it was wonderful.

Thursday, John and I celebrated our friend Andrew's birthday by eating delicious chocolate chip birthday cake (compliments of our friend Elizabeth) and bacon & chocolate cupcakes (compliments of our friend Marielle). Needless to say, it was another time where we completely broke Whole Life Challenge, but every single bite was more than worth it. 

Friday we went to John's final Med School Prom (this year it was called Med School Masquerade). Before the event, we met up with some of our friends at Cocina Superior. Since John and I had already eaten dinner at home, we opted to have drinks and desserts. The house margarita was amazing, as usual, and the Chocolate Banana Empanada (fried pastry stuffed with sliced bananas and chocolate topped with vanilla ice cream) was out of this world!! I know that you probably don't think about desserts when you think of a Tex-Mex restaurant, but I was pleasantly surprised!

The prom was held downtown at the Sheraton in one of their ballrooms. Their was a live band, a dance floor, good food and drinks. Plus, the theme gave me a wonderful reason to wear glitter and sequins-my favorite! So, I was in heaven. It was definitely bittersweet to know that it was John's last big fling before graduating, but it made me so proud to think about how much he has accomplished these past four years!

Saturday was quite the adventurous day. We started out the day by going to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for a picnic (yes, we went last weekend too, but with this weather there's no such thing as visiting too much)! I had been planning it all week and was so excited to finally put everything together. Earlier in the week, I made a secret visit to World Market where I picked up some Boylan Soda (super yummy old fashioned glass bottle sodas made from sugar cane), some cute miniature take out boxes which I used to serve sweet treats, and some retro games- Tiddlywinks and Who?.  I also went next door to Home Goods where I found the cutest card on the clearance aisle to give to John. The menu consisted of stuff that was already in our fridge and pantry- homemade chicken fingers, carrots and hummus, apples, homemade trail mix, sweet potato chips, chocolate chip cookies (I used almond milk to make them and they turned out super light and fluffy), and white chocolate covered popcorn with fun sprinkles. I used my favorite latte bowls and Mason jars to serve. I also brought out some of my fancy cloth napkins, the paper flowers that John made me, some decorate paper straws, and my great grandmother's handmade quilt to add some color. After we ate, we played the games that I brought and then looked for shapes in the clouds. It was a perfect lunch.

Since the weather was just too beautiful to stay inside, after our picnic we decided to take Henry on a walk in Railroad Park. He absolutely loved it and it was so refreshing to see so many people out and about in the spring sunshine!

After the walk, I still craved being outside. So, John and I made a quick trip to Homewood Toy and Lobby to grab a frisbee before heading to Highland Park , where we played until the sun went down. I am not going to lie, I'm still sore from the hours of throwing the frisbee, but I had a blast. Plus, as a reward for all of our hours of exercise, we made a trip to Doodles (think gourmet ice cream flavors meets sno-cones). I had oreo mint and John had cappuccino chip. We will definitely be going back soon!

On Sunday we were both exhausted. So, we recharged and rested in the morning before I headed to the AOII Leaders Council retreat and then to church (which was held outside!!!). It was such a fun week and a great way to usher in this wonderful season!


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