Really Random Revelations...They're BACK!!!

Good Morning!  I hope that all of you are planning something really WONDERFUL for this weekend.  I'm back this Saturday with my "Really Random Revelations".  Crazy little thoughts just randomly run through my head from time to time and I have begun to jot them down when this happens.  So, remember when you read this particular blog of mine that these are not any Earth shaddering revelations that are going to change the world.  They are simply just a few little thoughts that have run through my mind at some point during the week, that I thought you might enjoy or at least get a laugh out of.  So here goes!

1.  I have noticed that "Fortune Cookies" no longer contain "fortunes".  Instead, they contain "wise sayings"...
     What's up with that?

2.  I now know why cats eat birds.  I have observed the birds eating catfood out of the cat's bowl on the
     back porch...AH HA!!!

3.  Summertime is almost here...Just think of all the SUMMERY POSSIBILITIES!

4.  It is simply AMAZING what a child learns to do in his/her first year of life!  If we could only continue at
     that pace indefinitely.

5.  There's really something to that "Serenity Prayer".  Now, if we could only heed what it says to pray for.

6.  It appears that mischief will be my closest friend forever!

7.  I'm so glad that I do not have a husband who expects for dinner to be served promply at 5 p.m....or any time
     time at all, for that matter!

8.  For as long as you live, you will never be "caught up" with the why stress out about it?

9.  Licking cake batter out of the bowl is the yummiest!

10. How WONDERFUL it is to be married to your "Best Friend"!

Well, that's "it" for this week!  I hope that you enjoyed reading my crazy little thoughts.  Perhaps they put a little smile upon your face or prompted you to think of a few of your own.  Please feel free to comment on mine or share yours with me.  Now...go out this weekend and have some FUN...And by all means do something RANDOM!

A ROYAL Event...

I, like the rest of the world, wait excitedly for the Royal Wedding of William and Kate.  This wedding has many people talking for a variety of reasons.  For me, it is purely out of my love of fairy tales, romance and "happily ever afters".

I can remember Charles and Diana's "Royal Wedding" like it was yesterday.  It was the year before my own wedding and I sat glued to the television through the entire engagement and eventual wedding.  ALL future brides were doing the same.  We wanted to "borrow" any bits and pieces that a "commoner" could afford for our own nuptials.  And if one were to go through the wedding albums of brides from that era, a definite "royal" influence could be found in the photos. 

Personally, I was captivated by Diana's dress and chose MINE with HERS in mind.  It was big, full of frills and, of course, had a very long train.  Everything about the "royal" wedding screamed class and proper etiquette, therefore, I set out to emulate the same for my special day.  My mother and I hired a wedding coordinator and I set out seeing every little detail so that my wedding would be as lovely as the one of the beautiful princess, across the ocean.  And least in my eyes it was!

Then, as Diana began to start her family, I was again just a year behind her starting my own.  I remember when Prince William was born; Charles and Diana standing there with their tiny little bundle in his heirloom outfit.  I then decided that I TOO would bring each of my children home in their very own special outfit.  Oh, it was not passed down through many generations like William's was, but for my children, it would all begin with their generation.  I have kept those outfits for them to use one day if they so choose. 

The world watched as William grew and was joined by a younger brother, Harry.  Photos of Diana and her boys reflected the happiness they brought to her life.  She was a true princess;  however, soon we realized that she was one that would not share in the "happily ever after" ending. 

As my family was growing by leaps and bounds, I found myself to be happy and content, although I was not living in a castle.  Over on the other side of the ocean, the same could not be said for the beautiful princess, whom so many of us admired. Troubles seemed to have reared their ugly heads for the "royal couple" and the entire world became disheartened as it was evident that Charles and Diana's fairy tale had taken a bad turn.  As time went on and Charles and Diana divorced, we saw Diana continue to be the adoring mother, continuing to dote on William and Harry.  And, although, she was stripped of the "Her Royal Highness" title, we all still considered her a truly "royal" princess.

It wasn't too many years later that the world was stunned when the announcement of Diana had met an untimely death in a terrible automobile accident and once again, we saw William and Harry publicly grieving the loss of their mother; walking through the streets of London in her funeral processional.  We listened to Elton John sing, "Candle in the Wind" and wept at the loss of not only a "royal" princess, but a truly beautiful person.  We were sad for her two little boys. 

I say all of this, because a "Royal Wedding" affects all of us.  It is exciting to know that Diana's eldest son is marrying because we all feel as though we are connected to him in some way.  One cannot help but feel Diana's presence in all of the preparations for this very important event; evidenced even more by the fact that William gave Kate Diana's wedding ring.  This shows that he is also apparently thinking of his mother and feeling her loss during this special time in his life.  Also giving Kate this ring, to me, indicates his true love for the "new princess" in his life.  In my own "fairy tale" mind, I believe that, as a young child sitting on his mother's lap, he perhaps remembers his mother wearing that ring...maybe even playing with it on her finger as children are wont to do.  That ring represented the most important woman in his life growing up and he now has found another true love (I know, I know...I'm a "hopeless romantic") after all this time. 

So, I will go out, buy my "royal" cupcakes, set my DVR and then pour a nice cup of hot tea to watch...along with the rest of the world...the birth of a "new princess"...and hopefully a TRUE "Happily Ever After" fairly tale!

OK...I HAD to throw my wedding photo in too!

Buy Me!...Buy Me! Now, WHO Can Resist Those Late Night Bargains Shouting Your Name?!

From time to time, I find myself leaving the comfort of my warm, snugly bed to seek out the not so comfortable, cold couch to finish my night's sleep out on.  Oh, I have three other beds in which I could seek my rest, however, for some reason, I would rather be in my living room where the big screen TV can be found.  And THAT is where the late night shouting of my name begins.

One may be wondering WHY I leave my bed at all in the middle of the night.  Well, I am that person who can (actually HAS to...) sleep with the television on at night.  Don't ask me why I MUST do that; somewhere through the years, I started that bad habit and now it cannot be broken.  This background noise helps to lull and keep me asleep all night long.  So, it is not THAT noise that disturbs my sleep.  It is Robby.  At times, he snores, but even an audible breathing sounds can cause me to wake up as well (He tells me that he is sorry, but he cannot quit breathing...)...THUS, causing me to move to my living room for the remainder of the night.

Once settled on the couch, I turn the big screen on and at some point during the night, I hear the tone of the television is "Infomercial Time"!  And I MUST admit that once I start watching one of those infomercials, I cannot tear myself away from the television; even if I have seen that exact infomercial a thousand times before.  I suppose that should be the cue for me to turn the TV off, because it is an indication that I am very interested in that particular product.  And...OK, after watching one that I am interested in for so many times, I am compelled to BUY IT!

So, "BUY IT", I did!  Actually more than once, but I will only tell you about my most recent purchase...last week!  I FINALLY bought the Cindy Crawford, skin care program; "Meaningful Beauty".  Yep!...I decided that I had watched that infomercial for the LAST was time to take action and buy the stuff.  Heck!  Who doesn't want to look like Cindy Crawford?!  Hey, I was thinking that maybe I could even pencil a little mole in next to my lip like she has too.  So, I ordered the stuff and then just couldn't wait for it to come in.  You know, a couple of the things that really "got me" (OK...forced me to give in and buy the stuff...) was: 1.  The products were formulated by a French doctor.  WHOA now...I am absolutely DREAMY about Europeans and the European culture; not to mention that romantic language of theirs!  They are all so classy and beautiful.  SURELY these beauty products would make my appearance more classy and beautiful too.  2.  I just could NOT resist those cute little "Wrinkle Smoothing Capsules".  I love it when they break them open on the infomercial and then they say something about THIS being the "secret" that works "instantly" on your skin to make it look smooth...and wrinkle free...and YOUNG ( maybe it didn't exactly say THAT, but one can put 2 and 2 together...).  So, every day, I checked the mail; barely able to wait until I could reap the benefits of my new skin care regiment.

When it arrived, I broke into it, read the material about it and then began slathering the products all over my face.  As I broke open one of those little "Wrinkle Smoothing Capsules", I could almost "feel" any unsightly crevice disappear.  And then I saw it...the pamphlet.  THAT is where one really gets sucked in.  There are OTHER products they also offer...for a little extra money...but I'm SURE that they make you look EVEN YOUNGER (Wow!...I could look about 25 if I keep buying more products...)!  So, I am still perusing that little pamphlet, trying to decide which products I NEED to order next.  Then the thought came to me...Why, I could just fly on over to France... find those melons used to make the products... get some seeds from them... and then grow my own!  Because if they make your face look younger, just IMAGINE what they could do for your body if you started eating them!

Reality TV...REALLY?!

A few years ago when "Reality TV" became so popular, Caitlin was talking to me about one of the shows and Robby suddenly interjected, "STOP...How 'real' do you actually think these programs can be?  After all, there is an entire camera crew right there with them.  Caitlin sighed and said, "Gosh, ruin everything!"  Well, here lately, Robby seems to have gotten himself addicted to a little "Reality TV" of his own.

Many of the reality television series are quite glamorous and addictive for viewers.  OK...what woman can't resist getting in on some gossip from those "Housewives"...or perhaps the love lives of the Bachelor or Bachelorette.  And although I'm not much of a cook, I really enjoy the cooking shows; The Cake Boss and Chopped are a couple of my favorites.  But one of the "reality" shows out there has captured the attention of MANY men...including the ones in my own family; "Swamp People"!

"Swamp People" apparently has a HUGE following among the male population.  Robby, who shall I remind you thought "Reality TV" was absolutely silly has actually begun recording this show so as not to miss an episode.  YEP!  And so, because we DO live in the same house, I have caught bits and pieces of this show, therefore, I am compelled to make a few observations concerning it.

First, please be aware that not everyone who lives in Louisiana is a "swamp person".  Oh yes, there ARE indeed swamps here in Louisiana AND "swamp people".  I'm sure that there are even "some" that hang from my own family tree that are not far removed from these folks.  However, MOST of us do NOT hail from or currently live in a swamp.  As a matter of fact, the only time that I get near a swamp is when we are driving across the Atchafalaya Basin to get to Baton Rouge or New Orleans.  Further more, one would also NEVER find me (if I for some reason were standing near a swamp...) with ANY part of my body in that swamp water!  Because there really ARE alligators in there.  THAT brings me to my next point...the alligators, snakes or any other creatures living in the swamp. 

Those guys who are on "Swamp People" go out and hunt alligators.  I realize this, but please know that MOST people who live here do NOT get in a boat and go out in search of alligators to wrestle with and kill.  Yes...alligator IS served in restaurants here (I have personally never eaten it, but am told it "tastes just like chicken"...), but alligator hunting is not as popular as say, deer, duck or squirrel hunting.  And may I interject here, that those type of hunters dress a little differently than the "Swamp People".  And they are also required to take Hunter Safety Courses for those sports too.  I'm not so sure about the safety aspect of alligator hunting, considering those guys have accidentally shot each other...several times.

If you have ever seen this show, you will also notice that writing appears across the screen indicating what the "Swamp People" are saying.  I must admit that THIS is only for the benefit of those individuals NOT native to Louisiana; sadly, I can understand this dialect perfectly.  Don't is just as clear as a bell to me.  I wasn't really sure WHY they needed to be interpreted until Caitlin told me other folks not from Louisiana had a difficult time understanding what they were saying.

"Swamp People" has become a "regular" at our home these days.  And just like Caitlin and me, I now hear Robby talking to and about the characters on the if he personally knows them.  At times he becomes so glued to this show, that one need not attempt to disturb him until it is over.  Dare I remind him that only a few short years ago we were told how "silly" and "unreal" Reality TV was?  Hmmm...I'm SURE that somehow he would try to convince me that "Man Reality TV" is different...REALLY?!

Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Sunday...What Does It All Mean To YOU?

I gave up texting for Lent and although it has been quite a sacrifice for me, I had to ponder the REAL REASON I even considered making a sacrifice (small as it was...) during this season.  And then as I was sitting in a restaurant eating dinner this week, I saw "IT".

As I was sitting in that restaurant one evening with Robby waiting for my meal to arrive, I glanced out the window because I noticed something unusual.  There was a man walking across the parking lot...carrying a large wooden cross on his back.  The cross was very big and appeared to be made out of solid wood and to help with the weight of the load, there was a wheel attached to it.  This caught my eye as I pointed it out to Robby.  And then I began to "Think".

Perhaps this was the man's purpose in carrying that cross on his back around town; to cause people who saw him to pause (if only for a moment...) and ponder the magnitude of the "Cross".  The cross is a universal symbol for Christians around the world.  I personally have a cross on me at almost any given time; either in my purse or on a piece of jewelry I might be wearing.  I do not wear the cross casually.  For me, it evokes  feelings of my deep love, abiding faith and gratitude that Christ died (and rose...) so that I may live.

During this season of Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Sunday many of us prepare for a "holiday" season.  We, as Christians should prepare for a "holy day" season.  Easter is a time when reflection should be the focus for us.  Reflection on the sacrifice that Christ made for us.  Oh, we only think we know what sacrifice is, but there has been no "truer" sacrifice than the one that Christ made for us.  When I think about this, I have to say..."WOW...Someone loved me THAT MUCH!"  That is so inconceivable for me, as a human, to grasp.  Would I be willing to ever sacrifice my life for someone?  And that He knew that this was his destiny from the beginning?  That He would suffer unbelievably on that "Cross"...the very "Cross" that we sometimes wear so casually...and KNOW that they would treat Him so unfairly and that He could save himself from it...but DID NOT...for my sake...for the world's sake.  THIS moves me like nothing else can or ever will.

So, on the eve of Easter Sunday, I must admit that I did make it through the Lenten season not even sacrificing 100%.  Oh, I committed to giving up text messaging for the entire Lenten season and did quite well...however, I DID text a few times.  It disappoints me that I did this.  But I realize that I "tried" and that stands for something.  I attempted to "sacrifice" something that wasn't even that significant.  I was committed "somewhat", but knew that it wasn't a life changing event; that if I text messaged or not would not change the world.  And THAT makes what Christ did for ME (and YOU...) even more meaningful.  He was TOTALLY committed to changing the world forever...there was NO backing out for HIM even though He could have saved himself.  And for THAT GRACE (God's undeserved loving kindness shown to me...) He bestowed upon me I am eternally grateful.

Praise God...HE LIVES!!!  Happy Easter to all of you!

Run, Bunny, Run!

I pick my niece, Rylee, up from school on Wednesday afternoons.  Last week she excitedly told me about her upcoming Easter party and egg hunt.  I can remember those days with my own children.  It was always "Holidays Times Four" at our house.  Four times the Easter outfits...four times the eggs to dye...four times the school parties to prepare for...and four times the FUN and EXCITEMENT!

As Easter nears, I STILL find myself preparing little buckets with treats for my grown kids...their spouses...and a grandchild this year. I began to reminisce on Easters from years ago while doing so and one in particular will always stand out in my mind.  As usual, there were parties being planned and Ryan's teacher asked if I would mind hosting his class' at our house.  We lived way out in the country and had all sorts of animals and play equipment in the yard, so having the Easter egg hunt and party at our house would actually be a field trip of sorts.  So, naturally, I agreed and began to prepare for the the big day.  When party day arrived, the teacher, students and parents were not the only ones to dad popped out of his car carrying a cage and within it I could see a cute little fluffy bunny rabbit.  PERFECT!

The kids jumped from their cars and ran around to the back yard and began climbing on the free standing tree house and some also ran out a little further to see the chickens.  I greeted the dad with the bunny and commented on what a wonderful idea it was to bring a "real" rabbit to the party.  He asked if it would be OK if he let it out of its cage a little later for the kids to play with.  Of course, I said.  That's when Muffin lazily sauntered around the corner of the house.  Ryan had received Muffin for Christmas one year with a big red bow tied around her neck.  She followed him everywhere he went; the perfect companion who had actually adopted Ryan's "Type B, laid back" personality.  "Bunny Dad" asked if I thought the dog would bother the rabbit and I assured him that Muffin was the most gentle dog I had ever seen...she wouldn't hurt a fly.  As a matter of fact, I told him about the one time Robby had attempted to take her squirrel hunting with him.  They walked down to the woods and the first time Robby shot the gun, she ran all the way back home and was waiting for him on the front porch.  Muffin would NEVER bother that sweet little rabbit; why, she most likely wouldn't even notice it.

So, after snacks had been eaten, the kids excitedly surrounded the rabbit cage as "Bunny Dad" gave instructions about how to pet and hold the rabbit.  As the cage was opened, the bunny cautiously stepped out on the grass.  The kids were right upon his fluffy little body; surrounding him, laughing and hopping around themselves.  Then suddenly EVERYTHING went haywire!  The kids were not the only ones who had noticed the cute little bunny...Muffin had as well.  And that sweet, gentle, "wouldn't hurt a fly" pup had moved over to inspect things, herself.  And as she came closer, she lowered her nose to sniff the bunny and apparently the bunny thought, "Danger! Danger!"  It all happened so fast that I didn't know what to do. Muffin sniffed, the bunny jumped...and the chase was on!  A mad chase ensued around the back yard with Muffin right on the heels of the bunny and all of the children standing around, flailing their arms wildly screaming, "Run, Bunny, Run...Run, Bunny, Run!"  And RUN that bunny did...for his life.  I ran after Muffin, while "Bunny Dad" finally got close enough to scoop his little bunny back up to safety...WHEW!  Who Knew THAT would happen?!

Well, apparently, Robby knew "THAT" would happen.  When he came home from work that afternoon, I told him how "shocked" I was that Muffin had gone after the bunny that way.  He simply stared at me for a minute, rolled his eyes and then slowly shook his head.  "WHAT??". I inquired.  "Barbara, Muffin is a hunting dog", he explained.  "Well, I KNOW that.  But she has never really been 'interested' in hunting."  That's when he said, "Those dogs are hunters and it is instinctive for them to hunt.  You are just lucky that Muffin didn't CATCH the bunny or that Easter party would have ended VERY differently for you!"

So, in preparing for Easter this year, Sarah told me that she had a picture of Parker with the Easter Bunny in her new little dress.  As she handed it to me, there was no big "person sized" bunny with floppy ears; instead there on her blanket sat two little cotton tailed, white bunny rabbits.  And I thought, "I sure hope there isn't another Muffin lurking around the corner"!

Elle's D.C. Update: She Had A BAD Day...

Elle's time in Washington, D.C. is winding down and she and I BOTH will be glad for her to be "Back in Da Boot".  She called me one day last week...several times, actually and by the end of the day, I found myself humming that song, "Ya Had a Bad Day"; you know...the one they used to send people home to on American Idol.

That morning Elle had caught a bus, as usual, to work. Apparently, the bus ride was rougher than usual and she commented that it was making her car sick.  Now, some people may use the old "carsickness routine" to get the front seat while riding in a car, I know that car sickness really exists.  I experienced it quite often as a child, having to stop on the side of the road to frequently throw up.  On this particular morning, Elle found herself in this very same situation.  As the bus continued to roll down the road, Elle's stomach began to roil.  And as it became evident that this would NOT end nicely, she politely approached the bus driver to ask if she could possibly let her off of the bus since she was about to throw up.  "No.  You can wait until we reach the next bus stop; just like everybody else."  ALRIGHTY THEN...have it your way.  And then Elle threw up right there on the steps!  Guess what else...the bus driver stopped and let her off of the bus.

After work, Elle had to meet her class on "The Hill" for a class presentation.  Her group had been working on a project and part of the presentation included taking questions from other classmates.  The only problem with THIS was that Elle was having to defend an issue that she did not believe in.  She had prepared, rehearsed and even made note cards, however, what she had NOT prepared for was the amount of questions hurled at her.  You see, some (OK...all) of her classmates knew her stance on the issue and decided that it would be "interesting" to direct most of the questions to her.  And the professor?  Well, let's remember that this IS Washington, D.C.; the city that THRIVES on debate and controversy.  Needless to say, Elle left this particular presentation frustrated, angry and I quote, "Wanting to punch someone in the face!"  Hmmm...The day was not going very well, but SURELY things would get better...after all, the day was coming to a close.

That "getting better, day coming to an end thing"???  Well, it didn't exactly happen quite like that.  I was just sitting back watching a little T.V. when I heard my text messages going off (remember, I'm still not texting until after Easter, BUT people continue to send them to me...).  I walked over, picked my phone up and began to read..."3 text messages from Caitlin"...Hmmm.  As I began to open them up, I started with, "Oh no!...Oh my gosh!...Hand me the house phone!"  THAT got Robby's attention as he asked what was going on.  It seems that Caitlin had decided since her day had gone so awry, that she would not go straight home but instead go to get her hair done.  Now, this would not have been a problem if she had simply asked him to "do the usual"; we KNEW that he was capable of a foil and highlight.  As a matter of fact, he had it so blonde now that Ryan had inquired if she was attempting to resemble "Malibu Barbie".  Thus, she told this hairdresser that she wanted it to be a darker blonde this time; THAT is where all the trouble began!  It seems that in his attempt to give Elle a "darker blonde look", he had given her a...GRAY LOOK!  Yep!  She was still sitting in his chair, refusing to leave until he got it back to ANY color other than gray.  This was a hard one to help "fix" from long distance.   Although I was concerned about all of her hair possibly falling out, she insisted on having it "fixed"...OH, did I mention that she was scheduled to fly out the next afternoon heading to meet the rest of her boyfriend's family???  Yea, now THAT puts a different spin on everything, doesn't it?  So, after much discussion from both Robby and me (he told her all the right "Dad stuff" about how she would be beautiful with gray hair or even no hair), she allowed him to cover that gray.  It turned "brownish gray". 

Well, Elle DEFINITELY "Had A Bad Day".  However, the next morning found her dashing out of her apartment with her head covered, back to the hairdresser; he "somewhat" fixed it.  Then off to work and then Kentucky.  The photos she sent to me that day found her a little happier, with a smile on her face.  I'm not sure if that smile was due to the fact that she no longer had gray hair or was headed to see Kevin...OR if she was happy she had taken Scarlett's advice. "Thinking about things TOMORROW" really WAS a good idea!

No Drinks Allowed On The Metro?...REALLY!?

While I was in D.C., Caitlin decided to take me to a cute little shop across town.  I told her that we could take a taxi, but she insisted that hopping on the Metro (their subway system...) would be easier and less expensive since she had a couple of cards we could use.  Robby and I rode the subways in New York all the time when we visited there so it didn't bother me.

The first thing I noticed about the Metro was that there was an escalator leading down to the train.  In New York, you don't see this.  Also unlike the New York subways, the train area was large and had high ceilings...AND it was not crowded at all.  Caitlin and I had stopped by Starbucks on our way there so we took our drinks with us to a little bench and sat down to wait for our train...YEAH!  There are little benches to sit on in there too.  While we were sitting there, an older man with a young teenage girl came over to where we were sitting.  I scooted over to make room for them and as they settled down, the man bent over and asked if we were from the area.  I shook my head as Caitlin explained that she was living there for the semester.  He then said, "Well, I was just wondering because you know that you're not supposed to have drinks in here?"  I turned and gave Caitlin a questioning look that said, "Are we NOT supposed to have drinks on the subway?"  She told me not to worry; she ALWAYS brought drinks on it and besides there were NEVER any cops around.  And then I thought, oh, this guy is just a "rule follower".  We're breaking a rule and FINALLY having an "adventure" here in D.C....YES!  THEN the man said, "It really doesn't matter to ME, but if the subway police catch you they will fine you." although I liked the idea of an "adventure", I did NOT like the idea of having to pay a fine.  I looked at Caitlin as if to say, "Well???"  She assured me that we would be OK as our train pulled up and we jumped on.

The minute we stepped on the train we saw a subway cop!  CRAP!  I quickly stuck my drink in my purse (hoping it didn't spill...) and Caitlin, not having a purse with her, stuffed hers inside her jacket.  We walked in the opposite direction of him and sunk into our seat.  She told me that truly she had never seen a cop in the subway since she had been living there.  I wondered how much the fine would be if caught with a drink..."$500", she said.  WHAT!?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??  She sort of laughed and admitted that she really didn't know.

As we exited the train and turned in one direction to find our way back to the street, a couple of cops were coming straight toward us.  OH MY GOSH!!!  We headed the other way and there was a GROUP of cops standing there!  Suddenly the situation reminded me of one of those movies where the person is running from someone and everywhere they turn...there they are!  I kept my coffee in my purse and Caitlin kept her drink tucked away, as well as we bit the bullet and dashed past them.  WHEW...We made it!  As we were leaving the terminal, I noticed this framed poster on the wall and had to snap a quick picture of it...
OH MY GOSH...It really IS against the law to eat or drink on the Metro!!!
What "Adventurous Little Rebels" We Are!

Cherry Blossoms And A "Little Surprise" For MOM Too!!!

While I had been planning a "little surprise" for Elle,she had also been planning one for me.  I was coming to D.C. during April because I knew the Cherry Blossom Festival would be going on and I had always wanted to see those beautiful trees in bloom.  The Cherry Blossom Parade was also to be that weekend and HEY!...who doesn't like a parade?!  However, the "unexpected surprise" that Elle had for me was pretty GRAND!

Remember, now, she didn't know I was bringing her dad along on the trip, so she was sending him text messages all day with ideas she had for us to do while I was visiting D.C.  One "little surprise" was that she had gotten tickets for us to tour the White House Gardens!  Of course, he told me this as we were walking to our next gate at the airport, saying that he guessed he would just have to sit outside and wait for us..oh well, YOU didn't want to tell her you were coming; I'M going to see the White House Gardens!  When we arrived and Caitlin saw that her dad had come too, she quickly called her office and they were happy to provide her with another ticket so Robby could go with us.  And I must was VERY impressive.  Although I have been to D.C. many times over the years, I have never gotten to take a tour of the White House...I was excited!

Saturday was a BIG day.  We would attend the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade first, then head over to the Jefferson Memorial, where all of the Cherry Blossom trees could be found and then we would finish up with a tour of the White House Gardens.  Needless to say, my camera was working overtime that day.  I hope you all enjoy some of the snapshots I took!

Caitlin and Me waiting for the Cherry Blossom Parade to begin!

Caitlin and Robby waiting for the parade.

Japanese Lanterns

Japanese Dancers

More Oriental Dancers

And NOW for the BEAUTIFUL Cherry Blossoms Trees!

The Cherry Blossom Trees can be found on the path leading to the Jefferson Memorial.

Braving the cool temperature was worth every minute once I laid my eyes on these gorgeous Cherry Blossom Trees!

Now, for the "little surprise" that Caitlin had planned for me...a trip to the White House grounds to see the gardens there.  As I said before, I had never toured the White House or grounds at all, so I was pretty excited about this.  I wasn't really how sure how close we would actually get to the White House, itself, so when we were allowed to walk right up to the back, I was THRILLED!  Robby and Caitlin could NOT control my picture taking, so please bear with me...there are LOTS to share with y'all!

I TOLD you we got REALLY close!

Gorgeous tulips can be found blooming all over D.C. at this time of year.
The tree here is a Pink Magnolia...They are also in full bloom all over the city.

Sadly, it was still too cool for the roses to be blooming in the White House Rose Garden.

Of course Robby had to have a picture in front of the putting green on the White House lawn!


This is the play area for the "1st Children"...Caitlin and I thought it looked untouched...OR perhaps they are just very "neat" kids!
THIS is a portion of the FAMOUS "White House Vegetable Garden"...Hmmm...Maybe I'm just used to seeing much more impressive gardens here in the south, but I'm not sure a family of bunny rabbits could get full on this little garden...

Well, the day was very full, but we enjoyed every minute of it.  The sights and flavors of D.C. sure are nice...the sounds???  Not so much...but THAT topic is for another day!


A Little "TASTE" Of D.C....

After Elle got her "surprise", we decided to go eat dinner...and of course, dessert!  One of the yummiest desserts that Robby and I had tried while here in January was found in the restaurant of "The W Hotel". We told Caitlin about it, but she had never had a chance to try it out yet.  What better way to start our long weekend with her than to order up this dessert!  Caramel Popcorn Salty Ice Cream Sundae...

Caramel Popcorn Salty Ice Cream Sundae...Found at "The W" in Washington, D.C.  One of the best desserts I have ever tasted and a MUST if you are visiting D.C....YUM!!!

The next morning we got up and decided to set out for breakfast.  Wanting something different, we sort of just searched for something fairly near to where we were staying and came up with "Founding Farmers".  This restaurant touts its fresh and organic ingredients.  The atmosphere is "farmish" also, with wood everywhere, big clouds made from cotton boles hanging from the ceiling and displays of huge jars filled with fresh veggies.  I must say...the food was WONDERFUL!  And no wonder...the guy who sat next to us while we dined informed us that it was in the "Top Restaurants Recommended by the Food Network"!

We had a nice hot cup of coffee in this wonderful large cup to start the day at "Founding Farmers" in D.C.  OH...and notice the cute little cream container!

I had this waffle, complete with butter and maple and cinnamon syrup!

Robby and Caitlin had the "Farmer's Breakfast"...

We ended up in Georgetown around lunchtime and popped in to a little restaurant to eat there.  But before we did that, a cute market caught my eye and I HAD to wander in to take a look.

Dean and Delcua's is a great little market that looks like a quaint little country store.  It has the old country feel due to the old wooden floors, the openess of the space and the inviting wicker baskets of produce that greet one upon entering the premisis.

I wish we had one of these where I live...I could sure get into some grocery shopping here!

J. Paul's is where we stopped in for lunch.  Look what they serve instead of bread before the meal...Yummy, hot, homemade pretzels!

And, of course, whenever one gets ready to stop for a little snack during the day...there are CUPCAKE shops to be found EVERYWHERE...

I REALLY wanted to get a cupcake from here, but it was cold and raining...and there was a LONG LINE of people stretched around the building, hunched under umbrellas waiting to get inside.  My comfort suddenly became more important than saying, "I ate a D.C. Cupcake"...

I DID eat a cupcake from "Alexandria Cupcake", in Old Town (Alexandria) Virginia.  Sorry, but there is no picture of it due to the fact that it had just come out and was still warm...we ate it quickly and can I just say, "YUM"!!!

For dinner, we visited a cute little restaurant that is close to where Caitlin lives; "Ted's Bulletin".  This is an Old Timey restaurant that has a neat little bar in the front and the 50's style booths in the back.  There was a big screen T.V. on one wall playing "The Wizard of Oz" while we were there.  There are several really neat things about this establishment; they are known for their homemade pop-tarts and delicious shakes!
This is the bar in the front room of "Ted's Bulletin"

THIS is "Ted's Bulletin's" Menu!  It is an Old Timey newspaper with facts about the restaurant when it originally opened. When you open the paper, the menu is printed on the inside pages.
Caitlin got the "Oreo Cookie Shake" that has little pieces of crushed up cookies in it and Robby had the "Peppermint Shake" that had peppermint pieces in it.  What did I have???  Why I just had a little taste of both of theirs!  They were Both YUMMY!

This is what Robby ate at "Ted's Bulletin"...Yep!  It's a hamburger that has an egg on top of it!

Caitlin had this roast beef sandwich at "Ted's Bulletin" in D.C.

They even had one of my favorite vegetarian meals at "Ted's Bulletin"...Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Hot Tomato soup.  What could be better on a cold, rainy evening?!

We also had to try these "Bowling Alley Onion Rings".  Notice the cute little cast iron skillet that they are served on...

We were so stuffed when we left "Ted's Bulletin" that we had to take our homemade pop-tarts to go!  But WOW!  They were delicious and so soft; nothing like the Pop-Tarts that you buy in the store.

I must say that D.C. DOES have some neat and interesting places to dine!  And I was certainly at an advantage since Caitlin has been living here all semester and ventured out and found and tried them in advance.  There were plenty other interesting things that we did on our D.C. visit this time around...Watch for my next posting where you will get to see LOTS of beautiful photographs from around the city!


I was SO happy that I had not booked an early flight...remember how I HATE getting up so early to get to the airport?  I only hoped that in getting a later flight, I had not put myself in a bind.  It seems that the later the flight one books, the more chances there are of getting delayed.  And I certainly didn't want to get delayed...I NEEDED to get to my Elle with her "Surprise"!

Caitlin had already informed me that she would just meet me at my hotel when I hit the ground in D.C.  I said, "GREAT!  And then we can just go get your bag and you can stay with me."  She hurriedly informed me that she was planning on taking her bag to work with her that day and would already have it with her.  WOW!  I would say that she was just as excited to spend a little time with me as I was to spend time with her.  However, I couldn't WAIT to see the expression on her face when she saw the surprise I was bringing her!!!

I was slightly delayed, but ended up getting to Atlanta in plenty of time to get some food and make my connecting flight.  Caitlin called and texted along the way wanting to know my progress; where I was and about what time I would be landing.  FINALLY around 5:30 p.m. I was sitting on the plane in D.C., waiting to get off.  I called to let her know that I had landed and informed her that I would call her again after I retrieved my luggage and got in a cab.  She told me that she was already walking to my hotel and would meet me in the lobby. 

Since it was 5 O'clock-ish, the traffic was a little rough, but the sights of the monuments coming into town was exciting enough (along with my mounting excitement to get to Caitlin with her "surprise"...) to keep me occupied as I rode through town.  And then I FINALLY arrived!  My baby girl was sitting somewhere inside the hotel lobby waiting for me to arrive.  After the bellman got my luggage and my taxi fee was paid, I quickly walked into the lobby (leaving the poor bellman to wonder WHAT IN THE WORLD I was doing...) and began scanning the room...THERE SHE WAS...a fuchsia blouse in a sea of black; that was my Elle!  She was distracted as I walked over and said, "Hey!"  Jumping up, she hugged me and began gathering her things together when...around the corner walked her "SURPRISE"!!!

HER DADDY!!!!!  With mouth agape and tears suddenly pouring from her eyes, she threw her arms around his neck...and stayed there for quite a while.  Actually, I believe that tears were coming from BOTH of their eyes.  There was no better "SURPRISE" that I could have ever brought her to Washington, D.C. than her daddy.  She had talked to him during the week and told him that she really wished that he was coming with me; he told her that he did too, but had too much work to do.  Also, during the day, she had texted him several times telling him about little things she had planned for us to do during my visit.  He played along so well, that she NEVER guessed that he was on his way to D.C. with me.  Believe me, though, it was NOT an easy thing to do.  We didn't tell anyone that he was coming with me until a couple of days ago AND, of course, there was that worry that I might let something slip that would clue her in to what was going on.  In the end we pulled it off.  WOW!  How GREAT is it when you can actually surprise someone and really make their day! 

So, here we our Nation's Capitol...atop "The W Hotel"...overlooking the city and the Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial and The White House.  Again, WOW!  We are SO happy to be here with our little girl, in this BIG city...

Elle's BIG "SURPRISE"...Her DADDY!!!