When I woke up this morning, the BHE said, "Take some time for you. The boys and I are going to go and do something fun all day. Do whatever you want and don't worry about us."
So you know what? I did just that.
You know what I wanted? Time with my woman friends. Yes. That. That always recharges me.
I sent a text to my girlfriend Sherie H. We've been failing miserably at getting together. On a wing and a prayer, I asked if she, too, might have a kid free window and availability on short notice for breakfast.
And she did! Yay.
Sherie and I met through Jack and Jill. She's such a good soul. I'm glad to have her as a friend and was even gladder to finally line up our busy schedules to break some bread and clink coffee mugs with her.
After I left Sherie, I decided to knock around in a few little boutiques. Mostly window shopping, but enjoying my "time for me" un-rushed time. The BHE and I call it "not being 'book-ended.'" That's when you not only get a pass to do what you want, but you also get to go for as long as you'd like.
So that's what was going on when this picture below was taken.
This lovely woman, Nancy, came up to me and said, "Excuse me--are you 'gradydoctor?'"
And y'all already know how completely giddy this made me. Again, it continues to blow my mind that anyone other than my mother reads this blog. But it turns out that my mother and Nancy read it. Ha. Nancy had a beautiful light shining from her and the kindest eyes. Can't you see it from this photo?
So nice meeting you today, Nancy.
After I left my boutique window shopping (which actually became a bit more than that), I picked up a few Christmas gifts for the kids. While shopping, I realized that the button had popped off of one of my insanely overpriced Ugg boots.
Well. Then I remembered that Harry had gotten them for me from Nordstrom. And the reason we always will pay a wee bit more for Nordstrom is the excellent customer service you get in times such as this. I strolled right in, button-less Ugg boots on my feet and explained to the kind customer service representative my situation.
At which point he promptly went to the back, and returned with a replacement pair. Complete with intact buttons. Yes, he verified my purchase. But still. All of it was super easy and super low key.
5 points for Gryffindor. And by Gryffindor I mean Nordstrom.
Next, I called my BFF Lisa D. to see if, perhaps, my luck would continue. Turns out that she, too, had a kid-free afternoon. Grandparents were doting over her 3 year old son, which opened her up for time with me.
My friends Hillary D. and Verna C. opened up a new business and were having a grand opening today. A really, really, really super cute place called Atlanta Olive Oil Company which features savory artisan olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I couldn't wait to try them out and knew Lisa would love it since she's a total foodie.
I'm pretty darn sure that Lisa and I tasted everything in there. For reals. I didn't meet one thing that I didn't like. And as someone who is SUPER picky and who has the palate of a sixth grader, that's saying a lot.
My favorite surprise was this:
The flavored balsamic vinegars! Oh my goodness. Such a treat.
But here is the kicker. . . . Hillary and Verna let us try a glass of prosecco with a bit of flavored--yes, balsamic, yes, vinegar in it. I cannot even begin to explain to you how amazing it tasted.
Even though it is called "Atlanta Olive Oil Company" I left with almost all balsamic vinegar. My favorite of them all was the "Espresso Bean" flavor. I can't wait to drizzle it over a steak or some fish.
Yum. Yum. YUM.
Oh yeah--and they are not only super delicious, but also reasonably priced. You must, must, must make your way over to the west side of Atlanta to this place. It is WELL worth your time. (Angella, I think your daughter and husband would fall in love with this place.)
As we were leaving, a group of Jack and Jill sister moms from our Atlanta Chapter came in. All of us Jack and Jill mommies paused for a picture. That box in my arms is my big bounty of yumminess which I'm slightly embarrassed to say was rather excessive.
All those tastings left us wanting some food. Inspired by the olive oil and balsamic experience, Lisa and I decided to hit the best pizza place in Atlanta--Antico Pizza (also on the west side.)
This is a fattening food that is always 100% worth every single fat gram, calorie, or work out. Yum, yum, YUM.
Lisa is nice enough to offer you some.
Whoops. Too late. Hope this slice of life I'm sharing suffices.
Regrettably, BFF time had to eventually come to an end. Both of us departed on a Neopolitan pizza high.
Called the Manning boys to see how they were. "We're kicking it!" Harry told me. "About to go get you a Christmas tree! We'll see you later on!" And in the background the boys were cheering. So I didn't bother trying to barge in.
Besides, I had another stop I wanted to make.
This sweet girl was having a wild and crazy first birthday party. What a delight it was to have things work out for me to be able to stop by to celebrate with Francois and Jess R. Their darling Claudia is a walking, waving bundle of energy. Look at those bright eyes!
Turns out that last Thanksgiving when everyone else was rubbing their "food babies," Jess was at the hospital having a real one. The result was this little pumpkin.
What's that you say, Claudia?
I love how it looks like she is having a full on conversation with her dad here.
And how she is mean mugging me on this group selfie. Ha ha ha.
Such a beautiful family. Can't wait to keep watching Claudia grow up. And to see Team Rollin grow as parents. This picture of them was my favorite of all. It really seems like the love leaps off of the page. Celebrating milestones with special people feels good. And it's important.
To me, it is.
I came home to a a quiet house. And a few moments later was looking at this:
I told my man and those boys that they did good with that tree. "I love him," I said. "He's so big and handsome." And Harry just smiled because whenever I give something a gender, he knows how much I really, truly love it.
Tomorrow we shall dress him up in lights and ornaments. And I bet you he will fix up quite well.
My "take some time for you" day was awesome. I highly recommend you taking one if you haven't. And if yours doesn't involve as much hustle bustle as mine--that's okay. Mostly I just hope you get a day to yourself that isn't bookended by anything other than a very handsome male Christmas tree and another very handsome husband who just happens to be a kick ass dad.
Happy Saturday. Live, savor, repeat.