Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Atlanta revisited, pirates and puppies!

First and foremost, what happened to January?? How can it be the 31st already? It didn't hit me until Matt Lauer mentioned this morning on the Today Show, that Thursday is Groundhog Day. Say what?? Not that it matters down here. I believe Punxsutawney Phil pardons Florida since it's going to be 80 degrees every day, regardless of whether or not he sees his shadow.

A few weeks ago, I flew up to Atlanta again to visit Mike. I was able to take a longer weekend this time, which was really nice. I posted all of my pictures from the trip on my photo blog, Pictures & Pawprints, so you can head over there to see them all.
"Hello, Atlanta!"

As usual, we didn't sit still for 5 minutes. I flew in Thursday night and we managed to come across a really great seafood place for dinner. On Friday, we visited the MLK, Jr. Memorial Site, which was really neat. Being that it was MLK weekend, we figured this would be appropriate. There is a museum on site, along with the grave of MLK and his wife, Coretta. There is a tour of the neighborhood that you can take, which we did that afternoon. The tour begins at the firehouse that MLK used to visit as a child (apparently, being a fireman was the dream career of choice by the boys back in the 1920's and 30's). The home that he was born in and grew up in is still there, right down the street, along with all the original items (the home is still owned by the King family). From there, you can visit Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he and his father both preached at. It's also the church where his funeral was held at. The altar is completely restored with all the original items from when he was there. It's very cool to take all of that in and very interesting to think of everything that happened on those very streets back in the 1960's.

The cart that carried MLK's coffin during his funeral.

On Saturday, we started off our day with a tour at the Fox Theater. The Fox is the most famous theater in Atlanta and was built back in 1927. It's the main theater where all the Broadway shows are held when they go to Atlanta, as well as some concerts. After that, we went to the Center for Puppetry Arts. They just opened up a brand new Jim Henson exhibit, with original puppets and characters from his movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, I noticed the nice, big sign that said "NO PHOTOGRAPHY." Boo! But not before I was able to snap at least one picture of Big Bird. It's one of the original ones and it was so interesting to see how he's maneuvered. The same guy has been playing Big Bid since he was introduced.

After meeting up with some friends for some AWESOME true Southern food for dinner at a famous place called Mary Mac's (fried chicken okra,  potato pancakes, chicken and dumplings, mac & cheese and cinnamon apples - YUM!), Mike and I went back to the Fox Theater. Only this time, we were there to see a show - "Annie!" When the movie "Annie" came out when I was little, I was obsessed with it. It was my absolute favorite as a kid. Before it was a movie, it was a Broadway show, which just happened to be playing at the Fox Theater the weekend I was there. Mike got me tickets for Christmas and it was really fun to see it on stage. 

On Sunday, we went for brunch and then to the Georgia Aquarium. It was awesome! Mike thought it would be fun to mess with the penguins, so he pulled up a picture of a sardine on his phone and held it up to the glass and the penguin actually followed it around on the other side! He had his mouth open and everything, like he was trying to catch it! Too funny.

After that, we took a drive around some of the neighborhoods and then went to a bar to watch the Packers game (which we won't speak of). I had to fly out early the next morning, so we headed back to the hotel, watched the Golden Globes, and called it a night. Can't wait for the next time!

This past weekend, Mike flew home for a quick trip and we went to Gasparilla. For you non-Tampa natives, Gasparilla is an event that began in 1904, honoring the invasion of Jose Gaspar, a pirate, in to Tampa. Basically, it's like Mardi-Gras, but with pirates. They do a parade, throw beads, etc. In the morning, we headed out to the "Invasion" which is a giant floatilla of boats throwing beads, that's led by the pirate ship that sits docked off of Bayshore year-round. My friend Danielle came to town for it (a tradition since she moved to South Carolina) and as always, we had a blast. 
My latest project - a front door wreath for Gasparilla. I've seen people putting these up on their doors every year, so I decided to get in on it and made one to hang up this year.

Yesterday (January 30th) was Penny Lane's FIRST birthday!! Can't believe our baby is one! She's such a great, little companion. We were very lucky to have adopted such a sweet girl. She celebrated by going to the park after work and chasing squirrels, and enjoying a brand new bone and some doggie ice cream last night. Happy birthday, Penny!!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

My new project!

I won't go into too much detail since you can read about it in my opening post. But here is the link to my new project that I'm holding very near and dear to my heart. It'll be a collection of my pictures that I've taken and was sort of a New Year's Resolution/Reason to become more obsessed with my new "professional" camera. Hope you like and it check back often as this particular site will be updated with new photos regularly. I also have a link on the right-hand side of this blog, so the most recent post from my photo blog will automatically appear. I started it up a few days ago, so go back to the opening post and work your way back :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Holiday fun

Finally getting around to recapping our holidays. They were busy, but really nice! We went over to Jupiter to spend Christmas with the Calcotes. We drove over on the 23rd and my sister and I worked on our annual gingerbread house. We don't like to make normal gingerbread houses because that's no fun. We always have to have some sort of theme (to our mother's dismay), but we have a good time and it's become a fun tradition. Last year, our theme was "Jersey Shore" (it was pretty awesome. Not gonna lie). This year, we went with one of my sister's favorite shows, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Behold, Paddy's Pub in all it's sugar-filled glory:

On Christmas Eve, we did our usual Calcote tradition. Church at 4:30, followed by a seafood dinner (we follow the tradition of the "Feast of the 7 Fishes"- an Italian custom of not eating meat on Christmas Eve). After dinner, we get in our pajamas, dad makes eggnog and we watch "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." I can't even count how many years we've been doing this, but I love it!

Christmas morning was fun, as always. We were in the living room opening presents until around 11:00, and then we had a late breakfast and headed over to my aunt and uncle's house for Christmas dinner. Penny was spoiled, of course.

My mom always does a killer job on her tree!
So festive in her Christmas dress!

Penny got to meet her cousin, Foxy.

The following day, we went down to Miami to visit some close friends of ours. My friend Kim had triplets last year, and it had been awhile since we've seen them. They're getting so big and so cute!


After we left their house, we drove by the neighborhood we lived in for 17 years (where I grew up). We got very nostalgic visiting the old park in the neighborhood where we used to play :)

I used to call this the "swiss cheese wall."
Mike even got in on the fun.

Love this place. Brought back such memories!
It was a great weekend and I can't believe the holidays already came and gone! Since Mike was in Georgia for most of December and we didn't throw our annual Christmas party, I just put up a small, fake tree instead of getting a real one. It was perfect, though :) I did decorate, as I love to do.

Penny's first ornament!
The "wedding" section of our tree :)

On the 30th, we went to Michelle's house to celebrate Christmas with the Goreckis and had a wonderful time with the family! It was great to be all together.

Penny was spoiled yet again!
Gorecki family Christmas picture.
Of course, we can't be normal :)

Since we had to forego our annual Christmas party, we hosted a New Year's Eve party which was great! We had a lot of people over and had a great time. It was good to celebrate with close friends. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and here's to a fabulous 2012!