Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pioneer Woman in Atlanta: I just wanted a T-Shirt

We've been fighting off a sick-bug for the past few days around our house. After bathtime on Tuesday night, Annabelle mustered up enough energy to crawl over and climb up on her couch after I put her jammies on her. Poor, pitiful baby....

Thankfully, she is finally feeling much better today! I thought I'd have lots of time this week to finish up my Christmas shopping, do our Christmas cards, post a few blogs and check a few other things off my forever growing list.... BUT, I've spent the past couple days sitting in a chair holding little miss. And while I hate to see her sick, I can't lie--I've loved all the time we've spent together snuggling....

I've got a few minutes tonight, so I thought I'd FINALLY post about our Atlanta trip!

Devin and some of the other family were in Atlanta the first weekend in December for the SEC Championship. I was suppose to go, too, but a few weeks before the game, I found out that The Pioneer Woman was going to be in Atlanta on the following Monday for a book signing for her cookbook. Since I first visited the PW blog, I've loved Ree. She takes great pictures, cooks yummy food, and is hilarious. I really wanted to go to the book signing and since it was right before Christmas, I suggested that Carrie & I make a girls weekend out of it and do some Christmas shopping, too. Carrie and I are always up for a little trip, so she said as long as we could be home by lunch on Tuesday, she was a "go"!

We loaded up Carrie's mother-in-law's Tahoe on Sunday morning and headed out. We'd planned to leave at 8:00, but left around 8:45... it felt like the old days when we used to carpool to school. I have a serious problem with promptness, especially when DW's not around to keep me on time! Something I plan to work on in the New Year.

We made it to Tifton and stopped to see my crew as we crossed paths on I-75. Annabelle got to love on her Daddy for a few minutes and then we headed on... while we were stopped, we decided to go ahead and have lunch, and we didn't stop again until we'd reached the outlet mall north of Atlanta! The girls did SO good. They both were just perfect. They slept the majority of the time, or enjoyed Mrs. Lucy's DVD player... Carrie and I have both decided that our next vehicles will have to have the DVD player.

We got some Christmas shopping knocked out, had some dinner and then headed back into Atlanta.

We stayed downtown, and these two were so thrilled when we got to our room on the 61st floor. They were so cute--- they just squealed when we put them down on the floor to play! They also loved to give me and Carrie mini-heart attacks when they played by the window...

I think Allie might have a future in ballet... look at that pointed toe!

On Monday, we'd planned to meet up with Katie from "Harrington House" for lunch. We "met" Katie a while back through blogging and Carrie and I just love her blog. She always decorates her home so beautifully and cooks the yummiest food and has the cutest babies! We were a few minutes late for lunch (this really wasn't my fault though, despite my previously mentioned problem with being on time... we got lost trying to get out of the Lenox Square mall... we aren't used to shopping in a mall with 3 levels and some levels that don't have mall entry! Ha) When we finally made it to the diner, Katie, Amelia & Jack were at a table in the back. We so enjoyed getting to meet Katie in person and especially enjoyed Miss Amelia Kate & Jack Jack. Amelia was quite fond of me, if I must say so myself... I'm not sure if it was because she thought I was her aunt, or if I had a bag of goldfish crackers...either way, I loved it!
Katie, thanks so much for meeting us! We had a great time, and seriously, we want to come up for the big children's warehouse sale in the Spring!!!
That afternoon, we ventured around Atlanta to knock out some more of our Christmas shopping and to make a little visit to Priscilla, the Pink Pig. Priscilla is an old Atlanta tradition, and it was just adorable. Carrie and I were loving that Priscilla even had a southern accent! Too cute!

Carrie & Allie Claire

Then it was back to the hotel to change and head to the book signing.

When we got to Borders, there wasn't a parking spot to be found. We circled the parking lot and I suggested we "make" a spot, but since we weren't driving one of our cars, Carrie thought better of it. Good thing, since we were there a WHILE. Finally, on our last loop through the lot, a car was pulling out and she made sure we got her spot! I jumped out and stood in the spot, while Carrie pulled up and then backed up and pulled in... I thought for sure that the hardest part was over... we'd found parking, so surely we'd be in and out within 30 minutes. That was at 7:00.

We walked in and there was no line. In fact, there weren't even many people wondering around the bookstore, but that's when I noticed it had 2 levels....I was doing some serious wishful thinking when I thought we'd be back in the car in less than 30 minutes because I had no idea what waited for us on the upper level!
We walked up to the table where there was a big sign featuring The Pioneer Woman. The nice Borders clerk gave us an armband---a colored armband with a letter written on it. We were green B. I was confused as to how the whole system was working, and like I said, the store didn't seem crowded, so I was still convinced that we'd be out of there in 30 minutes or less. That's when this group of women came walking out and told us, "Good Luck... we've been waiting for an hour and a half, and they've just gone through 2 letters on the FIRST color." Uh-Oh. The 30 minute dream was out the window. We walked upstairs to see what was going on. The moment my foot stepped off that top step on the upper floor, I knew we were in for it. Deep in my heart, I knew it was going to be a LONG night. Carrie, who reads the Pioneer Woman's blog occasionally, and who has the cookbook because she won it on someone's blog giveaway, wasn't really as excited about meeting Ree as me. Don't get me wrong, Ree, (in case you read this....ha ha), she wanted to meet you, just not bad enough to wait in that really long line with our babies.

When we looked around and saw all these people sitting around on the floor, we knew we were in for a wait. We asked around to see if there was anywhere within walking distance for us to take the girls and get something to eat. There was a Subway and a Super Target. We opted for the Super Target. Yep, we ate in the Super Target foodcourt. I don't think I would have been so bitter about it, until later when the Pioneer Woman asked us if we'd eaten before we came. The Target foodcourt could be a post all on it's own. The cashier was a ray of sunshine. Don't you just love those kind??? After dining on Pizza Hut express pizzas from the food court, we killed another hour and marked a few more things off our Christmas lists right there at the Super Target. I also picked up a few things for AB's birthday party, which was 5 days later. Yep, I was in Atlanta 5 days before her birthday party, that was at our house, and that I still hadn't gotten everything I needed for....on top of that, Carrie and I also hosted a cookie swap on Thursday night of that week....yes, we need our heads examined.

We'd been at the Target for a while, and I was worried. What if we miss it? What if they finish up and Ree leaves and we drove all the way up here from Florida for the book signing and we miss it? I started to panic. Carrie, not so much. We checked out anyway, and lugged all 20 bags, and our babies back across the road. We loaded the bags in the car and I raced inside to see what color/letter they were on. I was prepared for them to have passed us and for me to have to give my, "You have no idea what we've been through to get here, please let us in line, speech"--- when we got back upstairs to see the list, only a few more letters of the next color had been marked off. Talk about a way to deflate a balloon. It was 9:00 and the girls were sleepy and wanted to get down....they were tired of being held. Carrie's patience was wearing thin and she was ready to go! But I felt like we couldn't leave then...not after we'd already waited for those 2 hours, not after we'd eaten at the Target foodcourt, not after we'd driven all the way from Florida just for this! Carrie & Allie sat on the floor and I tried to walk AB around. As I was bouncing her, trying to get her asleep, I looked up and you're not going to believe who I saw! It was BAKERELLA! Bakerella has quite a famous blog, too! She is forever making some kind of yummy and equally adorable sweets...Bakerella's even been featured on the Martha Stewart Show with her signature cake pops. Stephanie and I even tried our hand at making some cake pops back in May. Not sure if they were as cute as Bakerella's, but we tried!

As I made my way over to talk to her (is that creepy?), someone else recognized her and went up to have their picture taken with her. So what did I do? I took off across the top floor of the Borders to get Carrie, Allie Claire & our cameras! I told Carrie to get up, and get her camera! "Why?" she asked? "You're never going to believe who's over there! It's Bakerella!" "Baker-who?" "YOU KNOW, the cake pop lady"... "Ohhhhh..."
When we got back over to her, Bakerella walked over to me and said, "Wow, you have great hair. It's so thick and full." After seeing the pictures taken that night, my hair was disgusting. Gross. It looks like a cousin It wig landed on my head, except you can see my face... Anyway, Annabelle was equally as excited to see Bakerella and her friend with the camera. AB loves a camera, even though she's not looking at it in the picture that Carrie took.... Check out Bakerella's post about the event, and see the picture her friend took of us on the slideshow at the end...we're like one of the first pictures!

Bakerella, Annabelle & Me

After the Bakerella excitement, I felt like we could make it. It was just what I needed to not give up! We'd get to meet Ree soon and I'd tell her about all we'd gone through, all the "heck and high water" (ha) we'd overcome just to get there that night to meet her, and she'd give us one of her T-Shirts and thank us for driving all the way from Florida and then we'd talk some more and she'd take pictures of our girls to post on her blog, and then she'd invite us out to her ranch to be guests at their lodge and she'd cook yummy food for us, and maybe she'd even invite Bakerella back out at the same time to give us cake pop lessons.... I don't think Carrie was seeing the big picture here, she definitely wasn't feeling the dream like I was... She was feeling like everyone was looking at us wondering why we had our babies up at the Borders bookstore way past their bedtime... I know we must have looked like unfit moms. Or like our babies had unfit daddies. I felt like we needed a sign that said,

"we're not from around here... we typically don't take our babies out in the middle of the night and let them fall asleep in the Borders bookstore...and if we were from around here, they'd be home with their daddies...yes, they have daddies, good daddies!"

A store clerk came over the intercom to announce that the store was closing, because it was 10:00. We had wanted to take the girls outside to sit in the car for a while, let them watch a movie and fall asleep, and I'd just keep running in and checking the line. I made sure to ask the guy at the door about 10 times, if he was sure I could get back in, if we went out. What if this was just some ploy to get the place to clear out a little by having people leave and not letting them back in??? I know, by that point I was kind of delirious...

We did go out and then came back in around 11. I took AB's stroller in and pushed her around until she fell back asleep. Finally, around 11:45, they called our color and letter and we were able to get in line. Carrie reminded me what a great best friend she is and never to doubt her love. I told her that her eyes were bloodshot red. Cause what's a friend, if not honest? Ha... She told me I was sweaty and my face was really red. She suggested I take off my coat before passing out, but I thought I looked better with the coat on, so I kept it, despite being hot....

We wrote our names on the provided post-it note and waited in line for a little longer.

Finally, we were on deck. I was next. I walked up, pushing my stroller, and Ree said, "awww"... and I said, "Hey, my name's Annie." to which she replied, "Annie? I love the name Annie. Nice to meet you." I said, "We drove all the way from Florida and we're really not unfit mothers...we don't usually have our babies out this late." She signed away, and said, "Did yall get something to eat before?" Ummmm, yeah... I didn't answer that one.... I wish I could have said, "Oh, Ree! We ate at Mary Mac's and the corn bread and pot licker were to die for tonight!" or "Yeah, we just ran upstairs to the SunDial Restaurant in our hotel and ate before we came tonight" or even, "yeah, we grabbed chick-fil-a before we got in line for 5 hours." But nope... since the only answer I could give was the truth, and the truth was that we'd had to eat at the Super Target foodcourt, I just didn't even answer. I smiled for my picture, that looks scary, by the way. I look exhausted and half out of it. And that was it.... We walked off with our signed books.... That was it.... No T-Shirt, No picture taken with her camera to feature us on her blog as "the girls who drove all the way from Florida for the book signing", no invitation to the ranch. I didn't even get to say anything I was going to say... I had all kinds of things I was going to tell her....I was going to tell her how we'd overcome adversary after adversary (okay, a little dramatic, I know) to get there, and about how much we have in common...I was going to impress her with the fact that I've even got cows in my front yard, too! Ha... I really did think we'd at least get a T-Shirt... I mean, dern... for real?

As we walked away, Ree's sister and best friend (who are also featured in the cookbook) were sitting at a table signing books, too. Carrie walked on past. She was beyond ready to go. Not me. We'd come all this way, and I wanted it all. If Ree's mechanic had been there, I'd have had him sign my book, too... If I wasn't getting a T-Shirt, then I at least wanted everybody there signing my book!!!!

As we walked to the car, I thought to myself, "that didn't turn out like I thought it would." As we drove back to the hotel, the girls asleep in the back, we started talking about how we should have made our second night's hotel reservation for half way back home, so we'd have been a little ahead of the game driving back the next morning. (Wait, it was after midnight, so actually that morning...) Carrie said we'd need to leave by 4:00 am. I haven't seen 4 am in a LOOOONNNG time, and I've never stayed up all night long. I'm a sleeper. I like sleep, a lot.

But when we weighed the pros and cons and looked at the mound of luggage that we had to load in the car, we decided we might as well head back to Florida right then. And we did. We pulled out of the hotel at 1:30 a.m., the girls slept the entire way back and we pulled up in Carrie's parent's yard at 6:00 a.m. We unloaded the car, and Annabelle and I headed to our house... we crossed the first cattle gap a few minutes after 7:00, and as Carrie said on her post, "we've been propping our eyelids open ever since." With all the busyness last week, I still don't feel like I've recovered!
What a trip! It was a lot of fun, though.

and waiting for 5 hours for the cookbook signing was worth it, even if we didn't get a T-Shirt! Ha...



Beth said...

I am so glad that you got to see Ree. Sorry that you missed out on the T-Shirts. One of my friends got there at 4pm snagged wrist bands and we still didn't see Ree until 8pm. Just cook something out of the book and it will make it so much better. :D hope you enjoyed your time in Atlanta!

Stephanie Heintz said...

That is SO cool. You two are the coolest people ever. I want a best friend like that and I would complain about not getting a t-shirt too! You met Ree! Thats so cool! Can I say cool again? Cool!

You talked to Ree! She knows you by name! She probably went home and told Marlboro man all about the florida girls who waited till midnight with their little babies to meet her! Don't worry. You'll be getting a call soon to come to the ranch.

Ahhh. Love you.

Sherrie said...

OMG I was ROTFLMAO of your dream meeting with Ree! "we are not unfit mothers" Your post had me in stitches. What an adventure you ladies had. Glad you got your cookbook signed after all that work. And the biggest sacrifice of all-eating at Target. LOL

Hey There! I'm Christy. said...

Great blog! I've enjoyed stopping by :)

Katie said...

First of do have a great head of hair... If that's what it looks like on a bad day, I'd take it as a wig! HAHA! Y'all are so not unfit mothers. An unfit mother would let her daughter fall off a chair in a restaurant, and then let her eat 10 tootsie rolls for lunch. ;o) I cannot believe y'all had such a looooong wait to see PW. We had to wait almost 2 hrs to see the pink pig, half of which the line was outside in the freezing cold, and Amelia and Jack neither one had jackets on...just stroller blankets (I thought the wait would all be inside) about wanting to wear the "I'm not an unfit mother" shirt.... Hope Annabelle gets to feeling better!

Heather said...

Love this Annie!! Even though it was long and didn't go as planned, it looks like you all had a great time!! Love the pics and I am so jealous you got to meet the PW!!!! Seriously, that is a great picture of you and her!!!

Julianne Hendrickson said...

I LOVE the picture of you and Ree!! You look great--I don't know what you are talking about with this wig thing...I am beyond jealous!!

Whitney said...

Awwww... I hope she is feeling better! Yay for getting a signed copy of the Pioneer Woman's cookbook! How cool! Merry Christmas!

Jennie Schwalm said...

After reading all the stories y'all have posted about waiting in line at the book signings, I'm glad I didn't try to go by myself to the one in West Chester, PA. I wanted my little sister to go w/ me, but she had other plans, so I didn't want to make the trip all by my lonesome. Your trip, despite the waiting and food court, sounds like it was fun, probably because you were with your best friend. Thanks for a great story - it helps me not regret my decision to do it myself. It would have been quite an adventure to talk about though!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

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