Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Alabama

Yesterday we flew from Philly back to Birmingham. Our flight leaving Philly was delayed an hour and a half and they told us we would not make our connecting flight from Memphis to Birmingham. So they went ahead and put us on the later flight--7:48 p.m.!! (we were supposed to LAND in B'ham at 3:15 p.m. so this meant we would have to spend 5 1/2 hours in the Memphis airport--fun for all!!) When we finally arrived in Memphis we found out that our original flight to B'ham was delayed until 5:30 p.m. So Brent jumped in line to see if he could get us booked on that flight. As he was talking to the lady at the counter they made an announcement that they had just CANCELLED the flight! Boy were we glad that we still had our tickets for the later flight!! The later flight was already full with a waiting list so many people were having to rent cars or stay the night at the airport. So we headed to our gate and watched the Eagles/Cowboys game--the Eagles stomped all over the Cowboys--go Eagles!! At that point we were all getting restless and I was exhausted from chasing Claire. So we ate BBQ sandwiches from Corky's and waited some more. Finally it was time to get on the plane! The flight was about an hour and we landed in B'ham around 9:00 p.m. Brent's mom was there to pick us up. We drove the hour back to Jasper and got home around 10:00 p.m. Ally was so disappointed that we would have to wait until the morning to open presents.
So this morning we had our Christmas with Brent's family--his parents, 2 sisters and their families.
Elmo from Jeanna & Patrick
Sharpay from Jeanna & Patrick
Garrett with his Star Wars Transformer from us
Brendan with his battery operated firetruck puzzle from us
Grayson with his battery powered firetruck puzzle from us
Licorice's play tower from Jill & Dave
Griffin with his Gloworm from us
Little People scooter set from Jill & DaveLittle People house from Nana & Pop
What is this?!?!
It's Nellie (Samantha's best friend)!!!
Nellie from Nana & Pop
pink scooter from Nana & Pop
musical pony from Nana & Pop
houndstooth koozie & BAMA shirt
turtleneck & vest
(Claire fixing my hair)
BAMA coasters
Brooks Brothers gift card
Brent's mom and her jewelry armoire from us
Brent's dad and his shirt and vest from us
Ally & Nellie
Ally & Griffin
Claire, Griffin, & Brendan
(the youngest children of each family)
Brendan & Grayson
Brendan, Ally, Garrett, & Grayson

If you would like to see more pictures of our Christmas in Alabama just click on this album (this is a public Facebook album so anyone can view it!!):

Saturday, December 27, 2008

NYC & American Girl Place

Today we took the train into New York City to visit the American Girl Place (this was our 1st trip to an AGP and Ally's first time in NYC--we've been several times). Uncle Paul, Aunt Marcy, and the girls offered to keep Claire for the day. Boy was I glad they did! (you'll read why later in this post) We took the 9:36 a.m. train from Hamilton, NJ to Penn Station.
It was a 75 minute ride into NYC on the Express Train. We arrived at Penn Station around 11 a.m. and then took the Subway 4 stops to American Girl. We walked a few blocks to the store and were sooo excited when we spotted the red awnings! (Brent couldn't believe I stopped in the middle of a busy NYC street to take this picture!!)
Ally and me outside of AGP
At this point Dad, David, & Brent split off from us girls (I'm not sure why they didn't want to spend all day in a doll store!! :)) So in we went (Mom, Aunt Norma, Ally, & me). Right as we walked in Ally had to have her picture taken in front of this Kit display!
It was around 11:30 a.m. when we arrived so we headed to see our Personal Shopper, Robyn (I highly recommend this FREE service to anyone who visits an AGP! Our PS was sooo very helpful! Check out this link for more info: She gave us the rundown of the store, etc., we checked our coats, and then headed to the 3rd floor to get Ally's picture made at the Photo Studio (she picked the photo on the magazine cover). The photographer showed her how to properly style her doll's hair--with a spray bottle, water, and an AG brush. The photo turned out GREAT!!Then we headed out to the Bitty Baby and Bitty Twin area. There was a line already forming for the Cafe lunch so we decided to go ahead and get in line.
Mom, Ally, & Aunt Norma
me, Ally, & Mom
We had reservations for a 12:30 lunch (which I made 6 months in advance). The lunch was incredible!! There was soooo much to eat!!
As we were seated, Mia was given a treat seat to sit in and her own cup & saucer (doll-sized of course!!)--sooo cute!!
Nana & Ally
Ally, Mia, & me
The Cafe was very elegant and girly! I just LOVE the hot pink, black, & white color scheme!As a starter they brought out cinnamon buns (somehow I didn't get a picture of it)
next the appetizer: fruit, veggies, cheese, pretzels, and pasteries
Ally's lunch: pink lemonade, applesauce, carrots, a fruit kabob, and mac & cheese
The rest of us had a portabello mushroom panini, salad, & sweet potato fries--the food was to die for!!
During the lunch we took a bathroom break and found doll holders in the stalls (they think of everything)!!
dessert: heart cake, cookie, & chocolate mousse
Our waitress was great with Ally and very attentive!! They had hairbands on the napkins & flowers in the mousse that Ally was allowed to keep--sooo fun!!
This is where they keep the treat seats and extra dolls that anyone can borrow if they didn't bring their own!
The lunch lasted about an hour. We decided that since we were on the top floor, we'd shop from the top of the store to the bottom.
The Bitty Twin display
The next floor was the historical floor
Ally in front of Kit's treehouse
Each historical doll had a big window that displayed their clothes, accessories, animals, books, etc. They also had a window set up as a replica of that time period. It was like walking through a museum!
Kit display
Each doll also had glass cases displaying seasonal outfits and accessories.
Felicity & Elizabeth
Julie's display
The Girl of the Year display
The next floor down--The 2008 Girl of the Year--Mia
The bottom floor was the bookstore and the Just Like You (JLY) area
The JLY display
a JLY pet, Sugar (who just had to come home with us)Sweet Treats Bakery Case & Coconut
Singing Star Set & Baby Grand Piano
Ally in front of the JLY dolls
We saw everything!! We shopped and shopped! They had a lot of great deals (end of the season deals). Ally was in awe the entire time and so was I!! The store became more and more crowded as the day went on. I was so glad that I had scheduled a Personal Shopper because it made shopping so much easier!! So around 4:00 p.m. we headed back to the Personal Shopper Lounge and went through everything. Robyn gave Ally a bunch of goodies--a Mia poster, AG word searches, stickers, and a cd.
Ally playing in the PS Lounge
Mom & me going through our things
(another great thing about having a PS--you don't have to stand in the super long lines--you can pay for your items in the PS Lounge)
Our PS, Robyn & me
We left the store and met up with Brent, Dad, and David. We headed over to Rockefeller Center and spent some time taking pictures over there.
Rockefeller Center
Ally with a great view of the ice skating rink
We ran into Elmo and had to get a picture!
Then we started the walk back to Penn Station
(my Dad rolled Ally's new AG suitcase with Mia in tow the entire way--boy did he get some looks!!)
the streets of NYC
Madison Square Garden
Once we arrived at Penn Station we decided to take the 5:56 p.m. train but had to wait until 10 minutes prior before they told us at which track the train would be arriving. Once we knew the track # we headed down the stairs and the chaos began!!! I have never seen so many people in one place--it was SCARY! Everyone was pushing and shoving and I could barely breathe! I was clinging to my Dad's arm in fear that we'd get separated. Thankfully Brent carried Ally. I honestly thought I was going to have a panic attack. Then we finally headed through a door which took us on an escalator down to the train track. It was insane!! We were going down and the people who had gotten off at the bottom were at a stand still. So everyone headed down the escalator were being pushed into them at full force. I thought we were going to be trampled! Then everyone pushed their way to the track and people were running to the train. Ally lost her shoe in all of the madness but thankfully a nice man found it and handed it to us. The train was about to leave and we had to run to the front to find a seat--we almost lost David in all of the madness. Boy was I glad to get on the train!! There were only seats for us ladies and the guys had to stand. After we calmed down, we enjoyed a peaceful ride back to NJ.
We arrived at Uncle Paul & Aunt Marcy's house around 8:00 p.m. to pick Claire up and then headed to get a late dinner. I am so thankful that we decided not to take Claire with us--it would have been torture with the crowds. But I'm so glad we were able to go into the city today!! The experience was UNFORGETTABLE!! I know it is a day that Ally & I will cherish forever!!
If you would like to see more pictures of our NYC/AGP trip just click on these albums (these are public Facebook albums so anyone can view these!!):