Birmingham Weekend

We spent a few days in Birmingham, Alabama, last week for a family wedding. Kevin's cousin Mary Evelyn got married last Saturday, so we went down on Thursday.

Birmingham was about a seven hour drive for us. We rode with Kevin's parents and opted not to take the boys. They would have had to miss two days of school (and a test) and we felt like that and the drive would be a little much at their ages. 

We left home around 9:30 am Thursday morning after we dropped the boys off at school. When we got to Augusta, it was lunchtime, so we stopped at Wild Wing Cafe. If you know me, you know I love Wild Wing. It's been years since I've eaten there as we don't have one in our hometown. We ordered the Buff Chips as an appetizer and I had the Incredible Grilled Chicken Salad and Kevin had wings. 

After lunch, we kept driving and made it through Atlanta before rush hour. We stopped one time to get gas and we may have gotten a few Dunkin' Donuts. I seldom buy donuts - maybe two or three times a year for the boys last soccer games - and these were good. I had an apple fritter for the first time. 

It was only 5:00 pm when we made it to Birmingham, thanks to the time change. We checked in the hotel and then made plans for later than night with some of Kevin's family who were also staying at the same hotel.

We drove into town Thursday night to eat at Dreamland, which from what we were told, is an iconic barbecue place in Birmingham. The restaurant was near the UAB campus, so we were able to see it. Literally the only things sold at this restaurant were ribs, barbecue and fries. Kevin and I ordered a half rack of ribs to split and some ranch fries. We seldom eat fries or barbecue for that matter, but all of our healthy eating rules went out the window this past weekend. I may have also gotten some banana pudding for dessert.

When we got back to the hotel, when hung out and visited a while and then Kevin and I watched Now You See Me. I wanted to see the movie when it came out, but we didn't get around to it. We missed the first ten or fifteen minutes which made us feel slightly lost, but overall, it was a good movie.

After breakfast Friday, we ventured out to a nearby TJ Maxx. I jokingly told Kevin we should've looked to see if there was a big race going on, and, well, he looked and there was, so we went to TJ Maxx to look for a long-sleeved shirt and arm band for me in case I decided to do the race.

We went back to the hotel and picked up my FIL and our two oldest nieces and went to lunch. We stopped at a place called Milo's that was listed as one of the places you have to try in Birmingham. We ordered the burger (the item to try). I wasn't really impressed with it. It had Milo sauce on it which tasted almost like a barbecue sauce with A1 added to it. 

After lunch, we went ice skating. I used to ice skate competitively, so I was excited about this. I obviously didn't have my skates with me, so I wore rental skates for the first time ever. The edges were almost non-existent, but I managed a quick spin and a toe-loop for old time's sake. I had so much fun skating with Kevin and the girls!

Later that afternoon, Kevin and I went to one of the mall's with my SIL, nieces and one of their cousins. It was fun. I have to say that I'm not super inspired by this spring's fashion though. I like bold and bright and everything is navy and plain. And there aren't many fitted dresses which I prefer either. I can totally get on board with the nautical look though!

We had the rehearsal dinner to go to on Friday night. It was so nice! The flowers reminded me a lot of our wedding. I wish we had taken a better picture, but here's our selfie in our hotel room after dinner.

We got up early Saturday morning for the cancer society 5K. The race was huge and after seeing a segment about it on the local news Friday morning, I decided to run it. I really wanted to see how I'd do in a larger city race. When we made it to the start, I jumped out and registered really fast. The lady who helped me said that other than the Mercedes Marathon, it's the largest race in Birmingham.

While I was standing at the start line, I overheard the man behind me telling someone that it was not a PR course. I turned around and talked with him and asked how the hills were in the race. He said you run all the way up a mountain into a gated community (it was beautiful by the way) and then back. I don't run hills as we live in flat country only about 40 miles from the beach, so I knew it would be a challenge.

We got off to a great start and I was feeling good during the race. I didn't have my Garmin, so I resorted to my iPhone in my new hot-pink arm band to give me my pace. I set my goal pace as 6:50 which would have me doing well and accounted for the hills. Amazingly, I PR'd the race by five seconds. 

February was my month off from racing as there weren't any local races. It was also my month to work on my core. I got a late start, but by mid-February, I was doing 150 or so lunges and squats a day along with 500 crunches and about 5:00 of planks (I'll share this workout soon!). I think it worked!

I finished the race as the fourth female overall (I was really proud), first in my age group and 9th overall. And there were tons of people (600 plus!) running. I was excited!

We walked around after the race and sampled some of the goodies - a to-die-for toffee cupcake, a muffin from the Magic Muffin and a smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Cafe. After the awards, I was able to get a 5 minute mini-massage. Even though it was short, it was great.

After the race, Kevin and I went by his uncle's house. He lives on the other side of the mountain from the race. When we were driving up, the bride, her sister's and her mom were leaving to go to the church, so we got to see her before the wedding. We visited with Kevin's uncle and cousin for a while. We don't get to see them often since we're so far away and I really enjoyed getting to know them better during this trip. 

We had to be at the church to take some family pictures at 3, so we had limited time that afternoon. We opted to stop at The Summit on our way back to the hotel rather than go into downtown. While it would've been fun to have seen some historical places, there's always next time. 

The Summit was great. Everything you could have wanted (besides J.Crew) was there. We ate on the patio of the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. It's another one of my favorite places that we sadly don't have. I felt semi-awkward being in my running clothes, but almost every other woman we saw was in yoga pants without makeup. I just don't generally go out like that. ha!

After lunch, we walked around and shopped some. We weren't looking for anything in particular and I didn't really want to try on clothes since I had been running, but we picked up a few things in The Gap. I got a great sweater for only $11. I think that's the best deal I've ever gotten. We picked up a few things for Kevin for his birthday as well.

We made it back to the hotel with just enough time to shower and get ready for the wedding.

The wedding was held on the campus of Samford University. It was absolutely beautiful! The music was gorgeous, the flowers were beautiful and the bride and groom were beaming with happiness. The service really centered around Christ's love which was so refreshing. 

Their wedding made me think a lot about our wedding. So many of the pieces that were played and sung in our wedding were in this one and the flowers were even similar with hydrangeas used throughout the sanctuary. It was nice!

After the wedding, we walked along parts of the quad to the reception. The bride and groom are both graduates of Samford and used to walk around campus for hours talking when they first met. They have a "Walk Our Love Story" sign that we followed to the reception. It included the day they met, their first date and even the date of their first kiss and ended with their wedding day. I loved that touch!

The reception was great. The bride's family has spent lots of time overseas and the reception was a Mediterranean feast. It was so good. I can't even describe it.  The cakes were delicious, too. The wedding cake was chocolate with cream fondant and the groom's cake was red velvet with chocolate buttercream icing. Yes, they were both delicious!

We left Birmingham mid-morning Sunday and made it home around 7 Sunday night. It was a great trip and we packed it full of fun. We were so glad we were able to be apart of the wedding!

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