Monday, January 21, 2013

Kid Free Weekend

This past weekend was a kid free weekend for us. An awesome friend of ours agreed to keep my son for the weekend and of course I jumped at that offer with bells on. We don't get time away from the boy child often so when little moments like this come up we are very pleasantly surprised.

This left us in a conundrum. What to do with our free time? We don't go out often enough to know what people in our age group do. I thought about it all day on Thursday and Friday and we chatted back and forth via text trying to figure out something to do on Saturday that would be fun. We decided to go to the Hunter Museum. I've lived in Chattanooga for 7 years or so and have never been inside the museum. I was going to have a new adventure to add to my list and I was looking forward to it.

We dropped the boy child off on Friday night and decided to grab dinner. It was a late dinner for us since we got a late start getting up to our friend's house. First we tried Olive Garden, when we drove through the parking lot and couldn't find a parking space we decided to go elsewhere. We drove up the highway and I couldn't decided what I wanted to eat. I have to be really careful with my gluten sensitivity with where I go out to eat at. I get so darned tired of salads. My food options in restaurants is so limited that it frustrates me to no end sometimes just to go out and have a good time. We decided to go to Red Robin. I recently discovered that they have a Simply Fit menu that offers different types of healthy burgers with either fries or a fruit salad as the side dish. I always have the garden burger (veggie patty) on a gluten free bun. This time I opted to get the fries because I was feeling a little hungrier than usual. I always get water to drink at restaurants because it's free and it has no calories. I happily ate my burger and fries and then we decided to make a trip to Walmart and pick up some things that I hadn't had time to pick up during the week.
gluten free garden burger with fries

Saturday morning we woke up and decided to go to breakfast at Shoney's. I haven't been able to enjoy a breakfast buffet at many places because they are usually loaded with gluten options that just are not going onto my plate. Biscuits, breads, donuts, cinnamon rolls (is your mouth watering yet?) these are just a few of the morning time foods that I no longer get to enjoy (unless I make the gluten free versions of them at home). Shoney's however has a broader spectrum of foods for breakfast and I can easily avoid the gluten-tastic items. I had scrambled eggs, some fried potatoes and a plate of fruit. I had hot cocoa to drink because it was chilly out and I was craving cocoa. I ate my food and was proud of my choices (with the exception of getting to much ketchup on my fried potatoes, yuck!) We left there and headed downtown to the museum.

We spent two hours exploring the Hunter Museum. There was art in there so beautiful it made me want to cry. I loved walking around in the Old Mansion portion of the museum. I was imagining the balls and parties they threw there. The entertaining that the family did. The structure and design of the mansion is beautiful. As I walked up the stairway I ran my hand along the banister and wondered how many people before me had done the same thing. The master and mistress of the house, the children, guests and visitors. It brought a smile to my face. In the middle of what was once the dining room/kitchen area there was a statue. It was a statue of a kneeling woman done in white pristine marble. I was in awe of such a beautiful piece. The detail was so lifelike. How could somebody be the precise with marble? She had fingernails and her hair had waves in it. The gathers in her robes were amazing. Her feet were even pretty! Breathtaking is an understatement. The marble was so white and untouched, virginal marble. Not a flaw or speck of discoloration on it at all from what I could see. I loved it! We continued on through the museum and I saw so many other pieces that I would have loved to have taken home with me. Beautifully crafted with just the right focus on color or position. I was in a world that I felt so comfortable in. Surrounded by beautiful creations that someone put there heart and soul into, to share a piece of themselves with the world. If I could live in a museum I think I would, definitely!

There was another exhibit there by artist Paul Stankard. He is an absolutely amazing glass artist. His glass globes were something that I just couldn't wrap my mind around. All those tiny sculptures in those globes and paper weights were also made of glass. How? How could be make such tiny worlds in there and not break the glass? I couldn't get enough of them and I wanted to take all those beautiful globes home with me to display for all my friends and family to see. So I could wake up every morning and look at such beautiful designs. However that would take these treasures away from the public eye and that would be tragic. Everyone should have the chance to see such wonderment and beauty. There was one particular piece, a paper weight from his early years that I wanted. It was purple glass and had a single white flower inside of it. It was simple yet beautiful to me. (It was purple and that being my favorite color caught my attention right away). I didn't want to leave that exhibit but I knew that there was more to see.
similar to the piece that I wanted

We finished our tour of the museum and decided to go walking across that walking bridge that goes over the Tennessee River. It was chilly but it was sunny and such a nice day to go walking. We walked across and went to lunch at one of my favorite new lunch spots, Poblanos. This little restaurant is amazing and serves authentic Mexican cuisine. Most Mexican food is not something I can eat as they use flour tortillas in a lot of the recipes. However Polano's has a gordita that is made with corn masa (what they use to wrap tamales). It's gluten free and delicious. I have my gordita stuffed with pork. It also comes stuffed with refried beans and with a green salad on the side that you can also put into the pocket to enjoy. I have fallen in love with corn masa based products and am so excited to eat something other than a crunchy taco (ouch).
walking bridge spanning the river

On the walk across the bridge I stopped at a little coffee shop and grabbed some hot tea. It was called "Rain Forest Mate" and was an awesome blend of herbal bliss. I love hot teas, the more exotic the better and I love experiencing the different blends of herbs and fruits that can be used in various ways to please your palate. I almost wanted to skip across the bridge back but I would have spilled my tea and that would have made me a very sad panda.

We decided to go do some window shopping once we got back to the car. We drove to Pier One Imports and I had a blast looking at all the items that I would love to decorate our new house with. I was getting some fantastic ideas and I made mental note of all the designs I was to incorporate into our new home once we move and have funds available to do so. It's looking more and more like Ikea and Pier One are going to be my "go to" places for home decor. I have so many ideas, I can't wait to try them all!

We ended our day with frozen yogurt from Sweet Frog and came home to relax awhile. We ended up napping on the couch while watching a marathon of season 3 of NCIS. Overall it was a fantastic day and I was glad to have experienced such beautiful and wonderful things!

Sunday we drove up to pick up the boy child and play a little bit of D&D. I am definitely a nerd when it comes to the things I like to do in my spare time. We had a good time and soon it was time to come home and go to bed. I was exhausted after such a full weekend! Today is going to be spent catching up on laundry and doing some chores around the house. Nothing too strenuous but things need to be done. So it's back to reality and all the responsibilities that come with it, yay for being a grown up!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

One Step Closer

Things have been so incredibly busy lately that I've once again fallen victim to not having enough time to blog. I've petitioned for more hours in a day but my petition is denied every time! So I'm taking a few moments this morning while my son gets ready for school to jot down what's been going on.

We got the lease for the new place last night. We read through it to make sure there were no surprises in the fine print. We did notice that the lease said that we cannot have pets. The landlord knows we have cats and that was even put on our application. I'm not sure if she meant to mark that section so I am going to call her today to assure that our fur babies will have a place to live.
This is one of our fur babies:  Raistlin

We spent hours last night pouring over "things to do in Atlanta" lists on the internet. My head almost exploded by the sheer amount of amazing things to do in the city and immediate areas. I simply cannot wait to move and get into an area that is so much fun and educational and NEW! (ok well new to me that is). The house is amazing and we are bike riding distance to Stone Mountain Park which is another huge draw for me. Having all those resources for outside exercise and enjoyment fills my heart with a joy that I haven't felt in years. Don't get me wrong I love Chattanooga too, there are many beautiful areas here as well but we've been there done that and there isn't much new left in this little city for us. It's still hard for me to believe that I've lived in TN now almost 10 years. (It will be 10 years in Oct of this year). I remember the move like it was yesterday. There are times when I miss California and my family more than I can express but overall I am very glad I moved to TN because I have grown, learned, lived and discovered more about myself and my life than I ever had before.

This weekend a friend of ours graciously agreed to watch my son for us so we could have a kid free weekend. We don't get those often so "date nights" rarely happen. Don't get me wrong I love going out as a family and doing family stuff but sometimes I'd like to just connect with my husband. We were trying to think of something to do for the weekend. I might have to work this weekend if our workload gets heavy so I didn't want to plan anything too extravagant. We decided to go to the Hunter Museum. In the 9 years that I've lived in Chattanooga I've never actually been inside this museum. I've been up to it, taken plenty of pictures of the outside of it, even walked into the gift shop once or twice but never actually toured the art displays inside. I love museums of all kinds. I love learning about history and seeing artwork that is so beautifully displayed. It warms my heart to see the creativity of other people. So we are going to do lunch downtown and go to the museum on Saturday. We'll probably spend a few hours downtown window shopping if weather permits. I'm looking forward to doing the one last thing I haven't done in Chattanooga before we move!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On the Move in 2013

There are many things that are happening in my life right now and so far they all seem to be good things. The biggest item on that list is we are planning on moving at the end of February. We are all super excited for this move and the train has already been put into motion. I simply can't wait for a change into a new state, a new city and a new lifestyle. Go team motivation!

We went house hunting in the area we are looking at moving to last Saturday. We looked at 4 houses overall that day. We were totally not impressed by three of them but one stuck out and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I was decorating it in my mind and planning things for all that space. After a couple of days of talking it over with the husband, we decided to move forward with the rental process. The woman who owns the home is so nice and she wants to find tenants who will take good care of the house and not diminish the property's value. I filled out our rental applications last night and we are going to get this ball rolling as quickly as we can!

It's a 4 bedroom 3 bath home that is over 2100 square feet. It's in Stone Mountain Georgia. In addition to the original living space of the home (which was 3 bedroom 2 bath) are a huge family room, a storage room off that family room and the garage was converted into a second master bedroom with en suite bathroom. It's an older home with lots charm. Hardwood floors throughout the original home and the additions have carpet. There is a bay window in what will be our master bedroom which I am going to utilize for a reading nook. The kitchen is dated but cute and has decorative tiles on the backsplash behind the stove and the area next the the sink. The laundry room will be right outside our master bedroom door, talk about making that task easier! Plus it's a single story, no more stairs! Yay!
(not actual home, lol!)
The backyard is fenced with a basic chain link fence all around and it's absolutely huge! I couldn't believe it until I walked to the back of the yard and looked toward the house and the house looked so far away . The kiddo will have tons of space to play and be a boy. There is a small redwood deck that is just big enough for some outdoor seating, I'm thinking a cute little umbrella table so I can sit and read outside while sipping tea, when the weather permits.

The only downfall is there is no garage for our car. This is not a big deal to me, but our car has been spoiled since we've lived in our current house. If it's a big deal with the car being in the elements, I can get a car cover for it and cover it up when it's parked. Or invest in a really huge umbrella! Lol!

The kiddo is totally excited because he will get the second master bedroom with his own en suite bathroom! He's never had that. He feels all grown up about it and it makes me giggle. Who knew that a bathroom could make his whole day? I'm sure he'll feel even more awesome once we get his new bedroom furniture and get it all set up for him. Talk about a room overhaul! He's getting the works this time around because he's going to be 11 this year and it's time to put away childish things and upgrade to big kid world!

The next few weeks are going to be filled with chores and plenty of packing and purging. I am looking forward to going through stuff and getting rid of everything we don't need. It's a huge family garbage purge and I can't wait. It's like Spring cleaning without the Spring!

I will try to post updates as I get them but if there aren't many posts in the next few weeks, I have a very solid reason. It's MOVING time people!