Whew! What a busy week!
We had planned to go to my parents' house on Sunday, but then there was a chance of snow on Sunday, so we decided to beat the snow (we didn't get any) and drove down after church on Sabbath.
The nice part of that was that we had a nice, quiet day at Mama and Papa's on Sunday. "Mr Cat" came out to say hi. He's a brother (I think) to Ashlyn's cat, Moccasin, and it's funny because their coloring is so similar, but his face is very different. He seemed to enjoy getting lots of love from the girls. Little Bit also enjoyed riding her bike a bunch. She almost got up the courage to learn to ride without training wheels.
Monday was "Ice Cream for Breakfast Day" normally I just buy some ice cream and call it good, but Mama made chocolate waffles to have with the ice cream. Yum! After breakfast Lexie and Ashlyn and I headed out for a fun day at friends' house. As always, the kids spent the day playing in the woods, and with the animals. This time Little Bit opted to spend the day with Mama & Papa instead of coming with us. They rode metro into Washington DC so Papa could get some National Park stamps he wanted. And while they were there, they went to the Rosslyn metro station to ride the really long escalator (207 ft) there (because what kid doesn't love riding super long escaltors?!?). So she had a fun day too.
Tuesday was the reason for our trip to Mama and Papa's! Little Bit's seventh birthday (which was the 26th). When her sisters turned 7, we went to the American Girl Store in NYC. So we had to follow the tradition and go to American Girl for Little Bit's 7th birthday too. But now there's also an American Girl store in Northern VA which has the huge advantage of being to drive to it instead of navigating the subways of NYC. As an added bonus, it meant my Dad could drop us off and go do his own thing, since spending a few hours in a 100% pink & girly store isn't really his kind of thing, he went and collected National Park passport stamps instead. Little Bit spent the first while just running around looking at everything. One thing I liked a LOT better about the NY store (when we were there, they may have changed it), is that everything for one doll was in one area. So we could go to the Kit area and see her and all her accessories on display, and then choose the doll & accessories Lexie wanted and be done with it. The DC store had things scattered. I think the idea was that similar accessories were in the same area. For example, in one area there was a display of each doll wearing her nightgown/pajamas with her bed and "bedtime accessories" set. But that meant that, to find Samantha (Little Bit's doll of choice) and all her accessories, we had to go all over hunting down the various accessories. It wasn't a big deal, since Little Bit and Lexie had gone online ahead of time and figured out what she wanted, but if we'd gone in there without having researched, it would have been very frustrating.
After we made our purchases, we went to tea at the American Girl Bistro. I had called and made a reservation and I KNOW that not only did we say our reservation was for tea, but the woman on the phone repeated back to me that it was for tea. However, apparently that information was not passed on to the actual restaurant. The website says to call an 800# to make reservations rather than calling the individual store directly (after this experience, if I ever do it again, I'll be calling the store directly). The people at the restaurant did their best (and said we were actually the second table that day who'd made reservations for tea and that information hadn't been passed on. Our reservation was for 2:15 and "tea time" doesn't start until 2:00, so it sounds like ALL the reservations were not being made properly), but because the "tea treats" are typically prepared in advance AND to further complicate things, we'd requested vegetarian, we did have quite a long wait. I was impressed though, I was expecting that "vegetarian" would just mean they'd leave off the meat items and maybe give us more of the non-meat options to make up for it but they actually created a vegetarian equivalent for the meat options. There was a miniature veggie burger to replace "Josefina's rancho burger" and a little heart shaped grill cheese sandwich to replace Julie's "pigs in a blanket".
After we left Tyson's Corner, we took a rather circuitous route back to Mama and Papa's house by way of Columbia, and our all time favorite Chinese restaurant, Hunan Manor! YUM!!! While the heavy beltway traffic is something I most definitely do NOT miss about living in Maryland, I do, very much, miss getting to go to Hunan regularly! When Rodney & I were first married I worked a few miles from the restaurant and when I wasn't traveling, my co-workers and I went there often for lunch. Now it's a rare, much appreciated treat.
Once we got back to Mama and Papa's house Little Bit, with help from her sisters, got right to work checking out all Samantha's accessories. Once they'd opened everything up and set it all up and generally checked it out thoroughly, it was bedtime.
So, they changed Samantha into her new nightgown (that Lexie sewed for her) and made a bed for her on the sofa.
Wednesday, the girls packed up all of Samantha's stuff and all of their stuff and loaded it all into the car, and we headed home. . . and I think I'll stop here and do a separate post about the rest of the week :)