Oh, what a delightful time we had in Birmingham on Monday and Tuesday. We left early Monday morning…much earlier than Mom likes to arise…but she was a real trooper, and was ready to hit the road! As we travelled, we worked on our master list of places to go and things to shop for. We all had our favorites. It was looking doubtful that we would get it all in even before we got there.

Our first stop was a neat little gift shop in the Patton Creek shopping center called Wrapsody. They have a very cool selection of gift items and decorations. On to Mom’s shoe store, Unique Feet…because hers are…and tiny, too. She managed to score a great pair of casual shoes. They were so comfortable, she wore them all day Tuesday! Next stop…World Market. We like to check out their ornaments and food stuff. It is on to Hobby Lobby…where I can always find things I need…even if I didn’t know I did. Love to check out their Christmas goodies. Most everything I wanted was at least 50% off! That is a sure sign you need it, don’t ya know? And, all their fall and Thanksgiving was 75% off!! Found some things to pack away for next year…(hope I’ll remember where). Finished up there and headed over the mountain to Homewood. We passed Homegoods…my most fav, but we’re coming back tomorrow on the way out of town. (We didn’t make it) In Homewood, we were looking for the new location of White Flowers Gallery…it recently moved from Mountain Brook. Their new store is so spacious. It doesn’t feel quite as cozy, but still a wonderful place to visit and shop. Then a few stores up the way to At Home. I could spend a mint here. I love EVERYTHING! Great ornaments, and wonderful furniture…the neatest candles and pot pourrie…jewelry for yourself or your house! Love this store! Next door is Harmony House, but nothing much interested me here, this time. Saw a new art gallery, floral, antique shop across the street…Four Seasons…very nice! And, by this time…we began running out of steam. So, to the motel, we go.

Found the motel…checked in, and decided that since we had not eaten since the biscuit we had in Ozark about 7 am…food should be the next order of business. Mom decided that she would play the age card and send her 2 young daughters out on a mission to find supper…while she relaxed and rested in the room. Can you imagine?
These beautiful trees were from our motel room window.

So, dutiful daughters that we are, and being respectful of our elder, we took off in the direction of sustenance for our weary body. PFChang’s was calling our names…so there we went. It was only about 4:30, so we beat the rush for dinner. We ordered way too much food and sat down to drink a glass of tea and rest while we waited. Got our order, and headed back to show Mama how resourceful we were.

I must remind you that we have learned our shopping skills from a Master Shopper, Mom, herownself. So, when I say that our car was loaded with packagesI mean our car was loaded with packages! We knew it would not be wise to leave them in the car overnight…so along with our mega size sack of edibles from Chang’s…we also loaded up our other available appendages with various sized packages. Because, it would be just wrong to make 2 trips, ya know. Have I mentioned that Joy has her foot in a huge air cast? Loaded, yes, nigh on to overloaded, with bags….we began our slow trek to the room. We made it to the outside door…and realized that yes, we would indeed have to put the packages down upon the dirty ground to retrieve the key card with which to open the outer door. Joy managed to do this, and without thinking then stuck the key between her teeth. She will probably get some vile disease from that…but, what is a girl to do? She was taking chances for the cause. We made it to the elevator…and a silly picture got us tickled and we were done for. We could not walk for laughing…we could not walk for all the packages between our legs…we could not walk because every step I took more sweet tea oozed out of the soggy paper cups…we could not walk because I had not taken the time to go to the potty since I left my house at 6 am, and every fit of laughter threatened to cause me much embarrassment! Then, when we finally got our rested Mom to the door, we fell into it, and collapsed on the bed in fits of laughter!
Mom got right to work setting us up with a table fit for a queen and 2 princesses! And, we proceeded to chow down. There was sweet and sour chicken, shrimp fried rice, lettuce wraps, spring rolls, steamed rice, and dessert…and a fortune cookie. Joy’s fortune cookie stated “Life gets harder near the summit.” If you know Birmingham, you know one of the best shopping areas is called the Summit…and we were right down the road! Coincidence? I think not.

After we pigged out…literally…we began the arduous task of separating the loot and trying to consolidate it into fewer bags. This completed, we hit the beds…watched a little TV, and Mother and Joy drifted off to dreamland. I, on the other hand, picked this night as one of those when sleep will not come…no matter how hard you try. The last time I looked at the clock it was 3:30.

Morning is here, and sleep or not…we must soldier on. Quick breakfast in the motel…and on to the Summit. First stop…Smith and Hawken. LOVE THIS STORE!! And, they have the best Christmas stuff, plants, garden stuff. We all managed to do some damage here. Next up was Williams-Sonoma…for a few kitchen gifts, and Restoration Hardware right next door. On to Talbot’s for Joy and Mom…and I headed over to Urban Outfitter’s. They don’t like this place. While I, on the other hand, find it very amusing. Sometimes a little shady…but I don’t look at those things! Managed to find a few gifts here AND an orange quilt for Alex’s new room. Cause, this is just the kind of store that would have a bright orange quilt! Lucky find! Next is Pottery Barn, who always seems to know when I am coming, because they stock the store with EVERYTHING I WANT! Managed to help the economy quite a bit here. Found some things for the house including a set of 12 chargers for my new table! Next, up the hill to Anthropoligie…Love, Love, Love! Neat assortment of everything! I ran into Coldwater Creek and J Jill looking for a pair of black knit pants…but no luck. The sky is beginning to darken, and it’s a long road home. One more quick stop into Cheesecake Factory to get a piece of cheesecake to take home to Alex…and off we go.
Mom loves to play with the toys she finds while shopping!

We realized we were hungry, so we rode down 280 to get a burger. I just figured that certainly we would run into a connection to 65 down that way. We did not. We did however turn down a road that looked promising. It was not. But, it was an absolutely gorgeous winding path that brought us back out to 280. I called Ian, who was sitting in the airport in Raleigh, NC at the time, to ask how to get home. He was a little exasperated with me. I don’t know why. We finally got a gentleman in a car next to us to roll down his window and asked him how to get where we wanted to go. He said to follow him…and he led us right to 119. Another beautiful drive. This led us back to 65…and the road home.

All of which left us with wonderful memories of another great adventure with those I love the most. We figured God just wanted us to see some more of His handiwork while we toured around HWY 280 and 119. And we did. Then he sent us an angel to show us the way home… isn’t that just like Him?