Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Big D... A Kid Free Extravaganza

After nearly 17 months, we did what many parents dream of doing but many do not take the time to do... we dropped Brayden off at a relative's house and drove 5 hours away to the lovely Dallas. It was a much needed, much anticipated mini-vacation for both Drew and I as individuals and as a couple. My Aunt and Uncle live about 30 minutes from us, and have 4 girls of their own who are all able to pitch in with childcare, so they had generously offered to keep Brayden for us if we ever wanted/needed to get away. Brayden didn't even bat an eyelash as we left... being at their house is probably like Disney World to him since he has so much attention and is basically brought outside to play at his becking call.

B-man hamming it up for Drew before we got to my Aunt and Uncle's house

The car ride alone was glorious, as we were not hindered by eating schedules, poopy diapers or screaming children. We didn't have to listen to Veggie Tales or Praise Baby, and were able to enjoy several conversations uninterrupted. I was able to lean my seat all the way back to a reclining position, something I've not been able to do since Brayden's been born since we are crammed like sardines in our Civic. It's the little things in life that we take for granted, right? Drew and I stopped at a rest stop at one point, and I'm pretty sure we were the youngest people there by about 50 years. While I think that some of the reason behind that is a generational thing (they grew up traveling by car and the only place to stop was generally rest stops), we decided that older people try to enjoy the entire journey, not just the destination.

We arrived in Dallas and immediately hit up IKEA. I have to be honest here... while I was impressed with the concept as a whole, the furniture didn't knock my socks off. Perhaps it's because I prefer more homely, Pottery Barn type feel for my house rather than super modern and funky. We did find a car rug for B that I am SUPER excited about. It's a rug that has roads and stuff on it so that he can "drive" his cars on it... it was only $10 and will be part of his Christmas present (along with some hotwheels, which are a new thing for him lately). I was so excited to find this because I had looked for one at the big consignment sale, but they wanted $14 for it and I wasn't about to pay that for a used rug. After IKEA we checked into our hotel, got situated and then headed out for some eats. I had wanted to eat at La Madeleine's, and so we drove down to the Galleria and ate there, then walked around for a bit before heading back to the hotel. Our hotel was awesome. We stayed at the Aloft in Plano, and had gotten a super sweet deal for reserving so early. The room was SO nice, and we had a 42 inch LCD television hanging on the wall in front of our bed, perfect for watching all of the college football that was on tv this weekend.

Our bed. I LOVE staying at hotels with king beds. Please note all of the pillows... we asked for extra pillows and they accidentally brought up two loads-- haha! I wasn't going to turn down extra pillows so I didn't tell them that they had already brought some up!
I loved this sink!
The shower-- please note, there are no ledges in this shower. Being pregnant and having no ledges in the shower makes for near catastrophe's while shaving. LOL!
The tv :)

Saturday we both woke up at 9:30... pretty sure we hadn't both slept that late since before B was born! It was so nice to just wake up once we felt rested. We decided that since it was outlet mall day, we'd forego getting super ready until later that evening, so threw on some bum around clothes and headed out. We ate at a little bakery called Paradise bakery. I had been craving belgian waffles, and they had them on the menu believe it or not! It was so yummy. After breakfast we hit the outlet stores and shopped for over 4 hours. Drew was a trooper, enduring the kids stores as I frantically searched for long sleeved shirts for B. I only came away with 2, but I think he's got enough to cover him for the winter. Drew needed dress clothes and we were hoping that his favorite store, Van Heusen, was running a sale for Labor Day. Sure enough, not only was Van Heusen running a sale, but so was Bass shoes, so we stock piled Drew's work wardrobe for pennies on the dollar-- literally. Bass was having a buy one, get two free sale, so we got 3 pairs of work shoes for Drew, then at Van Heusen we got 4 pairs of slacks and about 7 dress shirts. After the outlets we were pooped, so we headed back to the hotel and hung out at the pool for the rest of the afternoon. Saturday night we made reservations at a super swanky italian restaurant, called Nicola's. Eating out is a trip regardless of the location for us, but this location was a SUPER, DUPER treat. The chef was from Milan, Italy, so we had authentic Italian cuisine. We got fruscheta for an apetizer, and honestly, I could have eaten 10 loafs of this stuff for my meal... it was THAT good.


Then we ordered and split a pasta dish... I don't even remember the name, but it was amazing. All the pasta served in the restaurant is made by hand every day... DELICIOUS!


Then as our main course we ordered and split a veal dish... the meat literally melted in our mouths. The atmosphere was so romantic-- low lights, candle lit tables, and hardly any noise since we were tucked away in our own booth.


After dinner we walked around the rest of the area. It was fun to people watch, as we were in a pretty wealthy area of Dallas. We saw more Porsche's than I cared to count, 4 ferrari's, a Mazarati... you get the idea. We hadn't seen that many awesome cars since our trip to South Beach after Drew got back from his deployment.

Sunday we kind of had a lazy day. I was craving pancakes again, so we found an IHOP and enjoyed a big breakfast. I had forgotten that I had wanted to go by Gap in the Galleria to look at maternity clothes, so after breakfast we headed BACK to the Galleria. I splurged and spent a pretty penny on Gap maternity jeans. I'm pretty sure Drew thought I was crazy, but honestly, they make me feel somewhat normal and they are long enough that I feel like I can wear whatever shoes I want, not just flats. Sunday afternoon we spent the entire afternoon out by the pool just lounging, talking and enjoying the peace and quiet. The pool was probably my most favorite part of the trip. They had this little cabana that provided some shade for Drew, and I was able to lay out (which I am sure was a sight to behold since my one and only maternity swim suit doesn't quite cover my belly anymore!). Sunday evening we went back to the Shops at Legacy (the same shopping center that we ate at on Saturday) to stroll around.

Another Mazarati... I wanted to find the people who owned these cars and ask them what they did!

The entire area is so pretty, and filled not only with restaurants and shops, but residential condos and townhomes also. The center has a little pond with a trail around it, so we walked around that and sat for a while just listening to the fountain. For dinner we had found out that Dallas has a Chuy's (the BEST mexican restaurant in the entire world... hands down!), so we headed there and waited for over an hour to eat. It was SO worth it though. If you ever have a chance to eat at Chuy's, DO IT. I think they only have them in Dallas and Austin, but I could be wrong.


Monday we went back to the outlets to get some more pants for Drew (they were out of his size in a couple of the colors he had wanted on Saturday) and then headed home. Brayden didn't even bat an eye when we got back, evidence to the fact that he was completely spoiled and doted on by his Aunt, Uncle and cousins while we were away. All in all it was a great trip, and I can't wait to do it again... hopefully next time we won't have to wait 2 years to do it :)


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