Life has been a little hectic as of late, so it should be no surprise that I'm over two weeks behind on the blog. Sorry to the whole five people that read it!

Since mommy-brain is still on the real, I forget what I have for breakfast on a normal basis, so updates for any period of time prior to last week are non-existent. I'm pretty sure nothing big happened, but sorry for the period of silence anyways.

The weekend before last started out promising (of being totally normal) and then Penny had to go and get a fever that last ALL WEEKEND! It took a good bit out of her little body, so she didn't want to eat much and wanted to sleep a good bit. I was very hopeful that it wasn't anything serious since I was leaving for New Jersey on Tuesday. Thankfully, her fever broke on Sunday, but not before we decided that I would stay home on Monday since we needed her to be fever-free for 24 hours.

I was able to do a good bit of work at home on Monday and pack for my work trip while she napped and got the house ready to celebrate my brother Will's birthday. It's his last year of being in his 20's! 😉 Such an old man...

Tuesday was a day full of travel; Caitlyn and I headed out at 9 to catch our 11 am flight and made it through security with no problem. Our plane was the size of a toothpick so they had to tag my bag (which I was trying to avoid with a carry-on 😠) and put it under the plane so everyone and other bags could fit. Of all of the flights that I've taken in the last two months, this was my first American Airlines flight, and I have to say, it wasn't great. I prefer Southwest or Delta. Ya live and ya learn...

Our flight to Charlotte was fairly short and then we had a short layover before heading to Newark. The Charlotte airport is very nice, but VERY long! Rory had given me a heads up and let me know that they also had moving sidewalks. I love the moving sidewalks but they're a little harder to step on with a rolly bag behind you 😂. They even had rocking chairs in the airport! We commented about how Birmingham should have some, but it's not really big enough for people to need to take a rest between terminals. We hopped on our next plane and headed to Newark after a quick lunch.

Once in Newark, it didn't take me long to come to the conclusion that Newark airport was just about the worst airport I've ever been in. I'll give them a little bit of a benefit that the gate we pulled into was under construction, but that meant that we had to walk in a single-file line to get to the main terminal, which was a good distance away. Once in the main terminal, I'm pretty sure the air conditioning was out, so it was a sauna! We were more than ready to get out of the airport! We headed to the rental counter and got our compact car and were on our way!

We had decided the week before that we were going to get "lost" on our way to Hazlet and end up in Manhattan 😉. A quick trip through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops, and out through the Lincoln tunnel, and we were there! I have to add here something that you may have already deduced from the previous sentences - I DROVE into Manhattan! It is on my bucket list just to say I've driven in New York City, and I have to say, it really wasn't all that bad. I think I psyched myself up a little too much so I was expecting horrendous traffic, cars darting in and out of side roads, and hoards of people jaywalking at every turn. For the most part, traffic wasn't bad in the direction that we were going. I attribute the fact that I didn't get nervous driving to working on 280 AND having lived in Memphis for a time. Memphis drivers are just about the worst at aggressive driving! You definitely have to be aggressive when driving in NYC, but apart from the pedestrians, it wasn't all that different from Birmingham traffic. The pedestrians were pretty bad and would walk right out in front of you at random times, but you just had to slowly inch your way through and you were golden. We found parking (at an outrageous cost) and spent a couple of hours walking through Time Square, getting a quick bite at Ray's Pizza, and then moseying over to Central Park for a bit. I felt like I had never left! New York has to be my favorite vacation destination at this point in my life. I know it's crazy and dirty and loud...and fantastic! I don't think I could move there and live, necessarily, but I could spend a couple of weeks every few months there and be in heaven! I truly love NYC!

A kickball game in Central Park

So after a couple of hours in the city, we made our way back through the Lincoln Tunnel and towards Hazlet. It took us about an hour to get to our hotel and I felt like I was driving through Tarrant for about 45 minutes of it. New Jersey (or at least Newark) is pretty disgusting and scary. Once we made it into Hazlet, it wasn't so bad. We discovered a few oddities in NJ too - You can't turn left unless you turn right first; they have 2 interstate sections going the same direction - an express and a local - although you can exit both the majority of the time at the same locations. They also really love Italian food. Makes sense though. The first night after our training, we ate dinner at Pazzo's, which was some of the best Italian food I've eaten! Seriously! After dinner, we took a quick walk through Red Bank, NJ. That would be where I would live if I HAD to live in New Jersey. The town was so quaint and beautiful! It was right on a river so it was a cool 69 degrees and no humidity. It reminded me of football season in Alabama, when it starts cooling off and looking like fall. Beautiful!

The training went great and I learned several things that we can implement at work that we weren't utilizing before. In all, it was a very beneficial trip. 

So now on to the story that everyone was keeping up with about our journey home...

I received a message on Wednesday that they expected some significant weather Thursday night that might delay our flight, but as of then, they weren't delaying anything. It should have been the first clue that something was brewing. Thursday at noon, we got our first delay. The weather wasn't really that bad and we were watching the predicted weather and it didn't seem like anything was coming that would result in significant delays. We were still ok though because we initially had an hour and a half layover in Atlanta. It was cut to an hour at that point so I told Caitlyn that we were still ok, as long as they didn't delay it more. We continued our last training session and even got to leave early. I was more worried about getting through security in a timely manner than delays because I thought every terminal would be similar to what we flew into - under construction and utter chaos! We made it to the airport in plenty of time (even after getting a little lost finding a gas station) and decided to get some dinner before we headed to the gate. At this point, we had received the second delay, so I made the calls to Rory and my boss letting them know that we would still make our connecting flight, but just barely. We had a tentative plan just in case they delayed us again of either renting a car and driving home, or getting a room and coming home on Friday. Both of those plans hinged on how late we would be getting into Atlanta. After a quick dinner, we headed to that gate. After walking by several screens with incoming and outgoing flights that were 95% delayed, it started looking less and less like we were going to make our connecting flight. We got to our gate about 6 pm, and there began the waiting. We were keeping track of our plane that was coming from Atlanta to get us, and it wasn't looking great. Again, there was no significant weather issues in our area, but there were storms popping up around the majority of the northeast. Unbeknownst to us, this was resulting in rerouting of planes from all over and a mess of a situation for the FAA. After our plane was delayed a third time, I told Caitlyn there was no way we were making our connection, so I talked to the lady at the desk at our gate. She was confident that we would make our flight with no problem, but if we happened to miss it, it was not Delta's fault because the FAA was making the calls, so it would be on us to pay for a flight home. This was not great news to go with our already crazy evening. As the evening dragged on, our flight was delayed yet again, and when we checked the status of the flight coming in to get us, they were flying in circles just south of DC, no doubt waiting on approval from the FAA that there was room for them to land. After three hours, our plane FINALLY got there. We were most definitely not making our connecting flight and were leaning towards booking a hotel and going home the next morning. Thankfully, Delta had already taken the liberty of changing our flight to the next flight out to Birmingham at 8:30 on Friday. How nice of them! This definitely took a load of stress off of us.

Caitlyn was ready to be home!

I was delirious!

The attendant at the desk came over the speaker once the plane arrived at the gate and said that the pilot was tired and in a hurry to get back out to the tarmac and take off because it was such a mess. If there's one thing you don't want to hear at 9 pm at an airport about to board a two hour flight, it's that your pilot is tired. They were urging people to make a straight line from the boarding area so that they could file us on quickly. It only took a few minutes for them to clean the plane and put luggage and food on board, so we were filing on in no time. I was just so excited to finally be getting on the plane and thinking about how quickly I could throw my bag in the overhead bin, when I look up walking on the plane...and who do I see? Why, it's a celebrity, sitting in the first seat in first class. I had to do a double take and stare for a second because I knew that she looked so familiar and I immediately thought about National Treasure. It was the leading actress from those movies! I did a quick look in the seat next to her and saw a man sitting there with his head down and a hat on with scraggly hair coming out. I figured because he was hiding his face that he had to be another celebrity, but I had no idea who. I started hitting Caitlyn to get her attention and told her that it was a celebrity sitting in the front seat! She just laughed and continued on to our the VERY back of the plane. We sat down and I whipped my phone out to find out the actresses name and saw that it was Diane Kruger. Want to know what picture I saw next? Wouldn't you know, she's dating Norman Reedus! I almost dropped my phone at that point because I knew it had to be him! I was beside myself with excitement that I've never seen a celebrity before, and now I'm on a plane with two! We decided that this was the real reason the pilot wanted to rush everyone on - she didn't want to draw attention to the celebrities aboard our flight! After a 40 minute wait on the runway and finally taking off at 10 pm, I had to ask the flight attendant when she brought the cart around if Diane Kruger was on the flight. Since I wasn't sure if it was Norman sitting beside her, I had to ask about who I was confident that I saw. She kindly checked the manifest and sadly told us that no one with the last name starting with a K was on board. I told Caitlyn I knew it was her without a doubt, and then it dawned on us that Kruger may not be her real name. Thank goodness for in-flight wifi! We were able to look up her real name, but we didn't want to keep bugging the flight attendant so we just chalked it up to not ever knowing for sure. About an hour later, the flight attendant came back by our seats and confirmed that it was Diane Kruger! She said she went to introduce herself and saw her name and realized that's who I was asking about! She said she was sitting next to a man named Norman, and I about jumped out of my seat! I was so excited that I was right! Had we not been all the way in the back of the plane and them all the way in the front, I probably would have hightailed it up there and asked for an autograph! I also had to remind myself, though, that they probably wanted to keep it quiet and just get to Atlanta since they also had to wait for three hours at the airport, just like the rest of us. The excitement that I was on the same plane as Norman Reedus was enough for me 😄 The rest of the flight was uneventful and we made it to Atlanta at 12:30 Friday morning. 

Realizing that Norman Reedus and Diane Kruger were on our flight!

We were able to book a room, get on the shuttle and get in bed by 1:30 am, only to have to set our alarms for 6 am to be back at the airport for our 8:30 flight back to Birmingham. We managed to see one more celebrity before we left Atlanta 😉 After our shuttle drop off, we passed the check in desk outside and Lori Allen from Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta was standing there. I almost ran over to her for a picture, but I thought better of it since it was 6:30 am and the airport was a complete madhouse! We made it through security and onto our flight, and I've never been more excited to see that BIRMINGHAM sign when we landed!

After 4 hours of sleep and no coffee

Headed home!

Friday was a complete bust of a day, but I did get a few hours of naps in before I went to get the girls from daycare. Emma was so excited to see me! I almost cried seeing them because I had missed them so much! Penny must have missed me more than I thought because that night was one of the worst nights of sleep she's had in a while. We were up several times and I was a complete zombie the next day. Rory's mom and cousin came to visit on Saturday, so I was glad that we could spend a day at the house with them. 

I learned once I got home that Penny had been a busy baby! She had learned how to roll from her back to her tummy AND learned how to get up on all fours, but doesn't know what to do from there. I really don't think it'll be much longer before she starts working on crawling 😭

After all of the excitement of my trip, I was overjoyed that this week would be normal! In another praise report, Rory is officially done with school forever! He passed his last class and will be getting his diploma in the mail! I am so proud of him for sticking it out and finishing his degree! It'll be very nice to have him home every night during the week too. After six years of him coming in late two to three nights a week, I'm more than ready to have my husband back! It'll take a little getting used to, but I welcome the transition!

Not much else to report on for this week, but I'll likely give a short update on Monday since Penny will be 6 months old on Sunday!!! How did that happen? Like for real?!

I hope everyone is staying cool and dry during this unusually wet summer we're having!

God Bless!