Monday, October 15, 2012

A Birthday Vacation

Last I posted, it was September.  Now, here we sit in the middle of October.  Prior to last week, I didn't have much to share, as work had pretty much taken over my life.  There weren't many spectacular workouts,  meals were microwavable and anything but creative, and my normally positive attitude was lacking in the positivity.  Fortunately, vacation was well timed.

For the second year in a row, I arranged several days of vacation around Mom and I's birthdays.  Tuesday afternoon I hit the road and made the trek from Charlotte to Atlanta to come home to two of my favorite people + my favorite furry pal.

Immediately upon arriving home, Bailey and I took off for a walk in the woods.  She needed to expend some of her endless energy, and I needed a breath of fresh air and time to clear my thoughts and enter vacation mode.  After an hour of hiking, we were both feeling much better.  The remainder of the evening included curling up on the couch and falling asleep before 8pm.  Call me an old lady, but this girl was beat!

Thursday morning, I started my 28th birthday celebration bright and early by accompanying Dad on a hill run workout.  After six miles, we returned home to a hearty breakfast that Mom had prepared.  We enjoyed a frittata with spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes, fruit salad, and english muffins.

That afternoon we enjoyed some quality family time relaxing on the deck.  Grandpa and Grandma joined in the party and we enjoyed the beautiful fall afternoon.

My birthday dinner was simple, yet delicious.  Mom prepared a mixed greens salad topped with tomato, carrots, cucumber, avocado, and a drizzle of balsamic.  Meanwhile, Dad fired up the grill and prepared pizza crust.  I topped the crust with the toppings, and then back on the grill they went for a few more minutes.

Pizza number one included a base of herbs and roasted cherry tomatoes, followed by layers of sauteed mushrooms, fresh mozzarella slices, and roasted vegetables.

Pizza number two featured a mouth-watering caramelized balsamic onion marmalade,  marinated tempeh, and a Parmesan-Gouda cheese blend.

The dinner table was quickly silenced as we all enjoyed the feast.  In no time at all, we nearly devoured the entire bowl of salad and both pizzas.  

Gift opening followed, and I received all sorts of great goodies.  From Mom and Dad - a Coach purse, Pandora charms, and a Bosu Ball.  And from Grandma and Grandpa - a fall-themed decoration for my house.

Last, but not least, Mom and I made wishes and blew out the candles on our strawberry birthday cake.  It's hard to believe such young looking parents can have a 28-year old daughter, right?!

Friday featured a swim workout, shopping, and student loan drama.  Fortunately, we saved time for a game of dominos and 70s music that night.  It's a long story, but that combination originates from many Key's Crew vacations in the Florida Keys nearly 20 years ago.

Dad has been gradually progressing his training en route to running his first half-marathon on Thanksgiving.  As his coach, I've been providing him with workouts to hopefully pave his way to success.  Saturday morning, he had his longest run to date - a 10 miler.  Bailey and I very excitedly set our alarms to join him.  For a guy who two years ago couldn't run a quarter mile, he's turning into a real runner!  He was quite a rock-start and nailed those 10 miles, hanging onto a pace thirty seconds faster than his usual.

We returned home and greeted the birthday girl - Mom!  After enjoying a relaxing morning to herself, she was ready for her birthday breakfast.  She requested pumpkin pancakes, and given my pancake obsession, it didn't take much convincing for me to whip up a batch.  We topped the fresh pancakes with homemade applesauce, a dash of cinnamon, and maple syrup.  Yum!

Saturday afternoon we took a cue from Bailey and enjoyed lazy time.  Highlights included naps, reading, lunch, washing cars, and ceiling fan assembly.  

Finally, we gathered ourselves together and prepared for Mom's birthday dinner at Canoe.  I've been anxiously awaiting this meal since Mom initially sent the email reservation reminder a couple weeks ago.  Since this post is already getting quite picture heavy, I'll save the recap of our birthday dinner celebration for a separate post coming soon.

I can't believe that nearly sums up my vacation.  Where did the five days go?  It was a fantastic break and I loved every minute of the getaway, yet I can't help but wish it was longer.  I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to have such a close relationship with my parents and brother that enables us all to thoroughly love spending time together.  Next up - 1st Annual Belated Charlotte Thanksgiving!

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