Friday, April 16, 2010

1,500 Miles in Two Weeks: Part Two - ATL

First I want to apologize for the lack of blogging. To say the past two weeks were insane is an understatement. I honestly can't believe we are back in Frankfurt and back to the grind. I am also planning a banquet for this Saturday so things won't slow down until after that. Who said blogging was easy?

After the wedding we had a full week of visiting family, friends, and financial people. It started by a visit back to our old church, Westridge, and running into friends from our small group last year. Due to some rainy weather we had to reschedule an anniversary present and headed to the mall to do a little shopping. Big news- I am down one size and that felt great!!! Good thing I went shopping in the beginning of the trip because after two weeks of stuffing my face I think my new pants would have been a little tight. It was a little overwhelming to go shopping, but don't worry we managed. From there we headed over to Justin's dad's house to hang out and have dinner. It was so nice to be greeted with huge hugs and huge smiles. They are always great to have conversation with and Jake is getting so tall I can't believe it.

Justin's Dad, Step-mom, and Brother. It was great to see them and kick off the family visits.

Monday was nonstop starting with a meeting with our financial planner. We talked more about living abroad than actual money, but that was fine with me. He is down with our Dave Ramsey plan and helping us stick to it. 

From there we headed to the one and only Olive Garden to have lunch with Justin's grandma and her boyfriend, Herb. Two things that I truly miss here are alfredo sauce and chicken parmesan and we threw some down at Olive Garden. After a lovely lunch with lots of stories and pictures it was time to head to our next stop. 

We went over to visit with Justin's Grandpa and to our surprise his aunt was there too. We spent a few hours chatting and showing them some pictures from our adventures. One of the sweetest moments from the visit with Justin's grandpa was when we were about to leave and he gave Justin two hugs and held on for just that second longer. He is so proud of him and was so glad that we came by. Precious and I know Justin will cherish that time with him. 

Straight from there we headed to one of my best friend's house, Keight, and of course her fabulous husband, Jesse, and adorable son, Judah. We inhaled some Papa John's pizza and of course had a few beers that Keight could not partake in because she is pregnant with her second BABY!!! It is always an absolute joy to go hang out with Keight and Jesse. They are hilarious and great conversationalists. We had an awesome night talking about the future and laughing about the past. She gave me a blogger tutorial so be ready for a few changes on the blog soon (who knew it was so easy). Thanks Keight. 

Jesse, Justin and the bug

How can you not love that adorable face?

Sorry little guy, but you have a long way until your first one of those, stick to the milk.

Tuesday started with a haircut from my favorite stylist Sarah Luke. I have been going to her for years and I waited 8 months to get my haircut by her. That is one thing I haven't taken the plunge on- a haircut in Germany. Justin has known Sarah since high school and she is the sister of Justin's good friend, Cole. It was great catching up and walking out feeling like a new woman. Seriously ladies how good does it feel to get your haircut? I used to make Justin take me out on a date when I got my haircut because I was feeling and looking good. If you are looking for a new hair stylist check out Sarah.

From there we headed downtown to the Georgia Tech campus. We needed to go see our tax lady, Allison, aka my old co-worker to square away our 2009 taxes. Our tax return was a nice little present and I have Allison to thank for that. While we were seeing Allison we went around and said hello to a lot of my co-workers from the Georgia Tech Alumni Association. I really loved working at my alma mater and there are some great people working there. We made a surprise visit to my favorite strength coach, Scott, and he gave us a private tour of the new practice basketball facility. I am a little jealous because the volleyball girls get to work out there and it is amazing, they always do that after you leave. We also dropped by our college ministry, CCF, and had lunch with some good friends, Neal, Matthew, and Ansley. We went to none other than Chik fil a. I got my number one no pickles with a huge ice cold Styrofoam cup holding Dr. Pepper and it was pure heaven.

Dr. Pepper, chicken sandwich, waffle fries O MY!

That night we went over to our friend's house, Mel and Chris. We sat on their back deck and enjoyed some rays and a cold one. From there we met up with my friends, Kayce, Kristen, and Scott again. We went to one of our favorite joints, The Porter, in little five points. When in L5P you can't pass up on the Yacht Club and two dollar PBRs. It was a night filled with laughing and at one point a serious discussion and that it why I love these people.

The King's and their awesome back deck.

The girls just getting back together like old times!(Mel, Kayce, Kristen and I)

The Yacht Club with the whole gang (minus Kristen). The recipe for a great ending to an awesome night.

Wednesday was our three year anniversary, but to be honest we hope to celebrate now after being back. It was just too crazy while in the States, but we did do one cool thing I will tell you about later.

Happy three year anniversary Justin! I love you more today than 3 years ago. Thanks for an awesome journey!

Wednesday morning one of my best friend's, Liz, came over and we had breakfast together. From there Justin and I headed to lunch with his aunt, Amy, at Zaxby's. And you bet I had a zalad. 

My girl Liz

After a quick run to our storage unit we went out to Justin's old high school which is also his last place of employment. He got to catch up with former co-workers and some old students. One of my highlights was being reunited with my prom wing-man, Candy. She is also one of Justin's great former co-workers who we love even if she is obsessed with AHHH. We had a happy hour with some of his old co-workers, Rick and Trisha, at Mellow Mushroom before heading to the girl's high school soccer game. Justin used to coach the girl's soccer team so it was fun to go and cheer on some of the girls he coached for 3 years. After the game we went to dinner with the head coach, Cartee, and the assistant coach, Doug. Justin has a really good time with these guys and it was fun just watching them joke and tell stories. The funny part about this whole story was that we went to Hooter's (definitely not on the list of places I wanted to go while I was in the States. Thanks Cartee and Doug).

One of our favs, Candy. Look at her sporting some East Paulding pride. Go Raiders!

Cartee and Doug just couldn't get enough of the new and improved European Justin. Watch it boys he is mine!

Thursday was one of my favorite days. It started with a breakfast at West Egg with some of our friend's, Gavin and Lindsay. Gavin and Lindsay run a non profit called LUO and it helps children in Johannesburg, South Africa and Nicaragua to be set free from poverty. We wanted to have breakfast with them and just pick their brains about starting a non profit from scratch. It was an awesome time and they are truly inspiring people. Check out LUO today!

Now here is the anniversary gift I was talking about. After breakfast we met up with our photographer friend, April, and her husband, Brad. Justin and Brad went to high school together and I just love this couple. They are so cute, creative and just two really awesome people. We spent all afternoon taking photos all over Atlanta as a gift to ourselves. I thought it would be a great way to look back on the city we fell in love ( I know cheesy, but true!). It was a blast! Brad and April were so fun and I am sad we didn't hang out with them more while we lived in Atlanta. The other cool thing about this couple was they got married one week before us and came back from their honeymoon and made it to our wedding, now that is friendship. From Piedmont Park, Virginia Highlands to Centennial Olympic Park and the fountains it was a great way to celebrate three years together.

Just a little preview of many more to come! Thanks April and Brad!
(copyright April.photography)

The fun didn't stop there. We went back to the Brazell's where we had been staying all week and the girls (Meredith, Liz and I) headed out to get their nails done. It was great girl time and of course I loved the pampering. After a long German winter my nails were due for some help. The boys (Andrew, Chris, and Justin) stayed back and sat on the back deck catching up in the warm sun. It was a fabulous night of grilling out and enjoying time with some of our best friends. In Atlanta we had 3 couples that we were really close with. They are truly some of the best friends a girl could ask for. We have lots of memories together. We even had some other great friend's stop by, Dave and Quiggle. These are friends that go back to freshman year in college for Justin. Justin has know Chris, Quiggle and Dave for 10 years we figured out.  It was good for the soul to see all our good friends. 



The Jackson's, the Brazell's, and the Tison's

Dave aka BFF aka Cowboy Dave or better known today as Mr. E.

Q-nasty sandwich!

Before heading out to Greenville we skyped with the one couple that was missing, Buck and Mae, in Thailand. It was one of those moments where you loved technology and the fact that we can all be together. We definitely missed them on Thursday night, but it was great to see them on video at least.

All together again...kind of! 

All in all, it was an amazing trip to Atlanta. To be able see SO many family and friends was such a gift. We are sorry if we missed some of you, but there are only so many hours in a day. I will say that by the fourth day I was sick of eating and sick of driving, but I guess that is the American way. 

Thank you to everyone that made our trip to Atlanta so enjoyable and memorable!
-Marisa
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