A is for Automobile: When we got to Charlotte, we went to pick up the rental car we had reserved a few days before. We asked (and paid) for a compact car, but when we got to the lot to pick it up, they said, "Sorry, it looks like we're out of compacts - would you like a full size?" Ummm - yeah! So we got to drive around for a week in a pretty, new full-sized car (chevy impala) with automatic everything and seat warmers!
B is for Bedtime: Lila normally does a lot of crying when it comes to sleeping in a strange place. On this trip, she consistently went to sleep (at naptimes and bedtime) without a fuss. We were both completely shocked, but exceedingly grateful!
C is for Carousel: Lila's absolute favorite part of the entire trip was the Shelby Carousel! They have a restored carousel that is 80 or 90 years old and it's just beautiful. We went there three times and rode the carousel a total of eight times and Lila would get SO excited! We have a video of her reaction as we drove up to the place the last time. It's quite funny.
D is for Daddy's Girl: Lila has been in Daddy's Girl Heaven for the past week with Doug at her disposal all the time. She didn't want to be held by anyone except for him most of the time and she must have held her arms out to him and said, "Up, bo!" about 1000 times. There was even one time that I was snuggling with him and she came and pushed me away so that she could give him a hug!!!
E is for Electronics: When we got to the condo in the mountains, one of the first things we did was try to hook up and figure out a new DVD player. Doug (who is an audio engineer, if you will recall) spent 15-20 minutes trying to figure out how to get it to work and finally gave up and handed the remote control to Lila to play with (she'd been begging for it). She had the thing figured out and working within 3 seconds (I am not making that up)!
F is for Fair: While we were in Shelby, we went to the Cleveland County Fair. It is the largest county fair in the state - only the NC State Fair is larger. We rode the Ferris Wheel and ate Fair Food and Lila got to pet a Baby Chicken!
G is for Geese (and Ducks): While we were in the mountains, we went to a little pond that had a bunch of ducks and geese and we nearly froze to death while feeding them. We gave them a few slices of bread and then went to the store for another loaf because it was so much fun! Our favorites were Ugly Guy, Quiet Guy, and Big Whitey.
H is for The Ham Shoppe: This was the name of a sandwich place that we stopped into in a tiny town called Valle Crucis, NC. They had the most wonderful sandwiches - freshly sliced meat, way yummy bread, and the side dishes were good too (baked beans and potato salad)! We also got some of their homemade dark chocolate fudge - so good! - and then... we accidentally left most of it in the refrigerator of the condo when we left! Eek!
I is for Illness: We each took a turn at getting sick during this vacation (i have already posted about lila's problem). I got sick from the Fair Food and that was not a good night for me. Doug had a bit of tummy trouble himself while we were in the mountains - probably from all the unhealthy eating we did while we were gone.
J is for Jelly Beans: While we were at a candy shop, I finally gave in to the urge to buy a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (because i am a major harry potter nerd). The flavors are: Bacon, Black Pepper, Blueberry, Booger, Buttered Popcorn, Cherry, Cinnamon, Dirt, Earthworm, Earwax, Grape Jelly, Grass, Green Apple, Lemon Drop, Rotten Egg, Sardine, Soap, Toasted Marshmallow, Tutti-Frutti, and Vomit. Doug tasted a Black Pepper and said it was actually pretty good (but spicey) and I've had a Soap, which tastes very oddly just like soap smells!
K is for Kitty: Charlie and Starr (doug's aunt and uncle) have a 13-year-old kitty named Magic who is a little... odd. She apparently hates her own tail and spends a fair amount of time chasing it around and hissing at it. I wish we'd remembered to get THAT on video! She also doesn't like to be petted by strangers, which is very torturous for a kitty lover!
L is for Leaves: The leaves in Shelby really were mostly still green, but in the mountains - beautiful! There was every shade of yellow and orange and red (and green and brown too, of course). The leaves were blowing off the trees and it was the most wonderful thing to drive down these roads through the mountains and see the leaves drifting across in front of us! We took many many photos, none of which really captured how beautiful things were.
M is for Mittens: Before we went to North Carolina, I stocked up on winter clothes for Lila and we all packed coats, but we did not have hats or gloves. After we went to the fair and I had to put socks on Lila's hands to keep them warm, I decided an emergency trip to Walmart was in order and I got her a very cute hat and mittens. She is always cute and she looked especially cute in her winter clothes and she was almost unbearably cute when she was wearing those mittens!
N is for Nascar: No we did not go to a Nascar race while we were in NC, but there was a race in Charlotte the day that we left. And I didn't know it before, but that's a big deal in that area. When we were in the airport, it was pretty easy to spot some of the folks who were flying in for the race...
O is for Outside!: Lila has gotten really good at saying this word and it sounds like this: outseed! She says it many times per day in a squeaky little voice full of excitement and hope. Thankfully for her, we wanted to be outside as much as she did while we were in the mountains!
P is for Peelers: This is who we visited while we were in North Carolina. We stayed with Mamaw and Charlie and Starr Peeler and we got to hang out with (almost) the whole crew for dinner one night. They are a very welcoming family and I had lots of fun!
Q is for Quiet: It was so quiet up in the mountains! If you were on the front porch, there was some road noise, but it couldn't be heard from the back porch. And there were no ringing phones, no people knocking on the front door, no email, no Internet, no messes asking to be picked up - just quiet... (yes, i did start to get a little crazy after a few days)
R is for Ringer: Charlie and Starr have a phone that has some "issues." When someone calls, it starts ringing. And keeps ringing. Even after you answer the phone. Just one, long, continuous ring. We laughed much.
S is for Spud: Lila's second favorite part of the whole vacation was Spud, Charlie and Starr's giant Boston Terrier. Spud is extremely spastic, so when he was in the house, he had to stay in his crate. Lila would sit next to the cage and stick her fingers in and when Spud licked them she thought it was the funniest thing ever!
T is for Tex-Mex: "Chuy's, My Love! Oh, how I missed you! Your queso is so... spicey! And your burritos are so... big!" They do not, as you might have guessed, have TEX-MEX in North Carolina. They do have mexican food, but it's just not the same. And do you know what they call their queso? 'Cheese sauce.'
U is for Unpredictable: Lila never ceases to surprise us with her eating habits. While we were in NC, she decided that she liked tomatoes. Twice, she ate an entire slice of tomato like it was a cookie. Then, the next day, she decided they were evil and wanted nothing to do with them (after we'd bought severely overpriced tomatoes in the mountains)! That is pretty much the way it went with various things the whole time we were gone.
V is for Vacation: This wasn't just a vacation - it was a VACATION! We hung out and relaxed because we had no other choice. It was really wonderful and I was sad to have it end. Coming back home made me very aware of the things in my life that I enjoy (things i couldn't wait to get back to) and the things that I don't so much enjoy (things i was not looking forward to coming home to). Things to think about...
W is for Weather: The weather was just amazing. In Shelby, it was nice and cool during the day and pretty chilly at night. In the mountains, it was chilly during the day and stinking cold at night. I wanted to bring the weather home with me! When we left Shelby on Saturday morning, there was frost on the ground. When we arrived in Austin on Saturday afternoon, it was 80 degrees.
X is for XM: I have decided that I need XM Radio. Before this trip, I thought it was silly and a waste of money and if you don't want to listen to commercials, then just listen to a CD in the car! However, our rental car had XM and I quickly decided that it was my new best friend. I think I know what I'll be requesting for Christmas!
Y is for Yucky: Lila got so nasty dirty during this trip, pretty much daily. Between crawling around in public places and playing outside, all in long sleeves and pants, she was a mess! Seeing how dirty her knees got (let's just not talk about her hands) was almost enough to make me wish she were walking already!
Z is for Zebra: Okay, we did not see any zebras in North Carolina. However, Charlie Peeler calls ball games on Saturdays and we did see him dressed up in his black and white striped shirt. I will forever carry the image in my head of him walking around in the garden, with plants as high as his shoulders, in his uniform. I can't explain to you how funny it looked. I wish I'd taken a picture!