Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Easter Recap and Spring Break in Birmingham

Linking up with Tuesday Talk and the ACWB! ;) 

We had a fabulous Easter, and then made it to Birmingham and back for Molly and Frances' Spring Break, so that is considered a qualified success! If you want to see nine years of Easter Memories in our family, see this post (updated from last year... :0).

Here are a few photos from Birmingham.

McWane Science Center

This year for Spring Break, we were originally going to -planning to- go to the Beach.  We were all really excited, until... we started looking at prices for hotels and suites near the shore. After further investigation, we realized that a) a shorter drive and b) somewhere that's ~not~ the beach would suit our purposes much better! ;)

Enter: Birmingham, AL.  A fun city really close by- we're talking a very short two-hour drive- ended up being the perfect Spring Break destination. 

I've been to this city a few times in the past. Wedding, visiting friends in college, and even spent an Easter there with a friend's family.  It was nice to be back. Connections and memories of the couple of years my brother Eric lived there came back to me, as well.

The crazy thing about going to Birmingham the week after Easter? Well, some of you may know the significance of this place, but if you don't, it is the home of the very famous Catholic TV network, EWTN.  The last full day we spent in this city, the funeral Mass of the founder of EWTN, Mother Angelica was happening. It felt epic-- one for the books! We did not brave the pilgrimage that would be attendance at her funeral Mass (and yes, I will proudly blame crowds! And the fact that I haven't done much watching of EWTN myself;), but something interesting did happen to us on our last day, which I'll tell you about in a minute!

We stayed in a beautiful hotel, and they pampered us to the nth.  Every night they had a Manager's Reception, with chips and salsa and an adult beverage of your choice, compliments of the hotel.

The hotel also had an indoor pool and hot tub, and complimentary breakfast, and all the usual amenities... although we forgot to take advantage of the workout gym. Too busy swimming we were.

The first full day we were in Birmingham, we took the kids to the Birmingham Zoo.  See the picture on instagram here.;)

It was a lot of fun; there was so much to see! It was quite a bit bigger than the Zoo here, as well.
feeding time for the tiger~ eating meat off a stick.

wisteria in bloom

We swam in the afternoon, then grabbed Jimmy Johns, which also served as lunch the next day!

The second day, we adventured to the McWane Science Center, where we went to the hands-on toddler Adventure City, saw an IMAX movie, and just enjoyed all of the exhibits.

Almost as fun for adults as it was for kids!! Almost. ;)

Molly and Frances inside a tornado simulator.

Madeleine in the fire truck in the Adventure City.

Frances with a lamb.

That night, we discovered a very yummy restaurant unique to Birmingham, called "Little Donkey." The food was incredibly good. All of our kids enjoyed it. So, you should definitely check it out! Order the pork taco and tamale plate with the spicy slaw. So yum!

The third day, we went to the Little Professor Book store...so lovely!  But first, let me tell you what happened to us right before we departed. I call this,  "The Ron Story."

As we were sitting in the lobby of the hotel, all enjoying our complimentary breakfast, a man came up to us and started chatting. He told us his name was Ron, and then he made an odd comment: "My Mom had 13 brothers and sisters, and my father had 12 brothers and sisters. They were both from Ireland. They said back then they couldn't control it!"

I responded by saying, "Well, we're Catholic, so we don't believe in birth control..."

And he said, "I'm Catholic too! I got my Masters in Theology!"

So that sparked a long conversation, and who could have guessed, (!!!) he was in town for Mother Angelica's funeral! He told us that he was originally from New Jersey and he moved to Florida later in life. Several of his aunts and uncles became nuns and monks.  A better man than us, he said he was on his way to the Benedictine monastery to visit some friends,  and then he was off to the funeral. He also mentioned, interestingly enough, that his Great Uncle wrote the book on Understanding the Mass for seminarians and future Catholic priests studying Catholic Theology. (I wish I had asked him the exact title of the book he was referring to, or his Great Uncle's name!)

Wonder why- this was my favorite day of all of them!

so many books to put on my To Read list!

We rounded out our Friday morning with a visit to the Art Museum...

And we also hit up Octane Coffee, which was a lot of fun.
Anders: I got a new Planes book, and I'm about to drink hot chocolate! This was more fun that I thought it was gonna be!
Living in the lap of luxury at Embassy Suites ...
Annabel: I'm relaxing and hoping I don't figure out how to roll off this pillow...

Future Litigators  |  The kids swam and we got pizza out that night.

The last day, we went to a park, where the kids played on the playground, and then we got in the car and headed home. The drive felt so short compared to last year's trips to Texas and Orlando!!!

Madeleine: "Girls wear necklaces, and boys wear whistles." (her commentary from the Zoo).

The kids were able to pick out one souvenir from the Zoo Gift Shop and one book at the Little Professor. We didn't do any other shopping or visiting of local shops, or antique stores, but that would have been a lot of fun, too, I'm sure.  :0)

This trip was so worth it. It is always so fun to be able to hit the Reset button. But in the particular case, we saved a ton of money by not staying at a beachfront hotel, our kids had a blast, and the short drive was like a little piece of heaven.  Getting a break and coming back fully recharged and refreshed? Priceless.
to see more posts, clique-ty click right here.


mackyton said...

It’s great to know about this spring break. Attending this year’s spring fest at one of Chicago venues was a great experience. After a long time, spent some time with my cousins and had lots of fun. It was a memorable day.

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