We got back last night from a long weekend in Gainesville, Florida, also known as God's Country ("God must be a Gator too - he made the sun orange and the sky blue"). I spent 6 years there while I was an undergrad and then a grad student. The place is very near and dear to my heart.
My besties Lesley and Lindsey live there, so every time I make it down to Gainesville, it's like all of my favorite things are rolled into one awesome weekend. Unfortunately, there just never seems to be enough time.
However, the drive to God's Country, as you might imagine, is not short. It takes about 7 hours to get from Greenville to Gainesville. You may have caught my post on Friday of my adorable pups in the car on the way down. That pic was taken like an hour after we hit the road. I was still feeling chipper. But after hour 4 or 5, my butt goes numb, my back starts hurting like I am at least 50 years older than I am, and I start to get sleepy (esp if Alex is listening to ESPN radio and they aren't talking about the Gators) but I can't flippin' sleep. Ugh. Anyway, it was totally worth the trip to see my very best friends!
We arrived at Lesley and Chris's house around 6 where we were staying for the weekend. Shortly after arrival, the hubs surprised me with an early birthday gift! It was carefully and thoughtfully wrapped in a...FedEx envelope. I was confused. But I opened it and found the cutest, most Gatoriffic dress EVER! Blue and white chevron stripe with orange trim. LOVE. (A pic of it is below). See, I may have dropped a hint that I liked it when I saw it advertised in a store email...but when my sweet husband went all over Greenville trying to find it for me, the local stores only had Clemson and USC colored dresses (the nerve). So he tracked down the maker, ordered it from their website, and had it shipped to Lesley's so I could wear it to the game!
Ready annnnnnnddddd: **awwwwwwww**
Yep, he is the best!!
Shortly thereafter, we kicked off the weekend with a trip to Blue Highway Pizza (so delish) for some pizza (duh) and a few celebratory drinks. Only soda for the pregnant one on the right, though!
|Cheers! Me and my Besties on Gator Football eve|
After dinner, we went back to Lesley's and just hung out and caught up. My mom, stepdad Dave, and brother John Louis were also staying at Lesley's this weekend, with their dog Jaybird, so we had a total of 7 adults and 4 dogs under one roof. It was a little bit loud and a lot crazy. But Lesley handled it very well, especially for someone who's 7 months pregnant! Alex and I slept on an air mattress in the nursery. And let me tell you, that nursery is PRESH. So adorable I can't even handle it. (I suck and didn't get a pic of it!! Sorry).
Saturday, we woke up and lazied around eating banana muffins, croissants and cinnamon rolls. Yes, we were carb loading if anyone asks. We needed the energy for the day at hand: college football, bay-bay! Mom, with her recently-broken arm, and Lesley with her in utero child, stayed behind while the rest of us embarked on our journey toward The Swamp. For those of you who know Gainesville, you know The Swamp means two things: a restaurant/bar and the most amazing stadium in college football. We went to both.
|Hanging at The Swamp (restaurant, that is)|
|Outside The Swamp restaurant, across from campus. You're never |
too old to have someone attempt bunny ears on you I guess...
After the game, Mom and Dave took us out to my favorite place in Gainesville, Tapas and Tinis. They have great food, but I'm not gonna lie, the real reason to go there is the martini list. Ahhhh-mazing. (We went to countless Ladies Nights there while in college and grad school...$5 martinis on those nights...so yummy...and so dangerous when you have class the next morning). This also happens to be the place where Alex and I went on our first date! See, I told you it was my favorite.
|Enjoying a 'tini at Tapas and Tinis. |
This is where magic began, people.
|At Dragonfly, home of the best sushi ever|
And just like that, it was Monday, my actual birthday. After such a fun weekend, I was sad that Monday had arrived and it didn't feel like my birthday. Plus, birthdays confuse me: you go to bed at a certain age and wake up the next morning a year older. Weird.
After a delicious breakfast complete with a birthday mimosa at the Flying Biscuit, I said goodbye to my Gainesville peeps and reminded Lesley that the next time I saw her, she would be a mother. Crazy talk! But true! Then we loaded up our stuff and the fur kids and were on our way back to sweet South Carolina.
Spending most of the day in the car was not what I really wanted to do on the anni of my birth, but that's the price I paid for a whole weekend of doing what I DID want, so I was okay with that. When we finally got home around 7pm, we were pooped. We grabbed a pizza, had a beer, watched Bachelor Pad, and I opened all my sweet birthday cards that had come in the mail. I also opened my gift from my in-laws: they got me the same super-cute Gator dress but in garnet and black for Gamecock games! So don't be surprised when you see me in the same dress all. season. long. :)
It was a fantastic weekend. We might not be as crazy as we used to, but I'm just as tired nonetheless. You know what that tells me?
We are getting old. When it comes to a good time, it doesn't matter what you do, it's who you do it with that makes all the difference.