Sunday, November 13, 2011

Of Waffles and Pillow Fights

We headed out of town at the break of dawn on Friday morning to do a fun mini-vacation with the girls to the east side of our fair state. We made it to Ann Arbor in time to have breakfast at our old favorite Saturday morning spot, Cafe Zola. It was just as cozy, delicious, slow, and overpriced as it ever was, and the girls loved it. Jemma couldn't believe her life that we let her order the Belgian waffle a la Gabus, which comes drizzled with Nutella and raspberry syrup and also comes topped with two scoops of ice cream. FOR BREAKFAST.

I would have been happy to sit there for hours, our table covered with fresh-squeezed orange juice, cappuccino, and a mess of crayons, but there were adventures to be had.

We bundled up and wandered around downtown, then spent over half an hour in Peaceable Kingdom, where we knew the girls would love the enormous table of little tiny treasures and toys. We let them each choose one. Then we hiked to campus, with the girls peppering us with questions the whole time: What was that building? Did we eat at that restaurant? How much farther? Was Annie in my tummy when we lived in that apartment? How much farther?

We passed the alley where we always used to see Michael Jackson's doppelganger dancing to Beat It and we ventured inside to marvel at the graffiti until Annie pointed out that it smelled like pee just as Jemma bent down to pick up a penny off the ground. GAH. One gallon of hand sanitizer later, we were in the middle of campus, checking out fountains and bell towers and the dental school, which Jason was eager to show them and about which they couldn't have cared less.

In the afternoon, we grabbed lunch downtown Birmingham and spent the rest of the afternoon at Cranbrook Science Institute. We had the place to ourselves, and the girls ran from exhibit to exhibit, learning about viruses and evolution, water molecules and pyrite, T. rex and woodland trees.

We checked into our hotel and promptly went swimming, which Annie professes to have been her favorite part of the whole trip, and then we dried off and went to an old colleague's home for dinner.  Though we've added two children, one dog, and seven years to our respective lives since we last spent time together, it was as though no time had passed at all. The girls played happily with an old stash of Legos, the adults drank wine and ate shrimp and grits, and we floated off into the night so grateful for time spent laughing with old friends.

There was blamming of hotel doors into the wee hours of the night and the world's most uncomfortable pull-out couch shared with a very wiggly Jemma. On the bright side, though, there was a pillow fight

and happy snuggling the next morning

and then we went our separate ways yesterday, Jason to bring the girls back home after one last swim and some playing at a park, me to meet up with good girlfriends for a lucky day of IKEA and shopping, a night of dinner in the lounge at Toast and too much wine while watching Oprah Lifeclass and telling stories, a Sunday of leisurely breakfast and Trader Joe's and driving back home to a little blond girl waiting for me on my front lawn this afternoon. Just like always, it's good to go away, and it's good to come back again.


  1. OMG. That breakfast!

    I can't really see past that first picture!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful weekend! Love Zola (they do have the BEST vodka gimlets if you come again for dinner sometime).

  3. I was just in Ann Arbor a couple of weekends ago! Sounds like you had a phenomenal trip! You should hit The Blue Nile next time! EXCELLENT Ethiopian!