Theatrics + Family + Food = Quick NC Weekend

We had a fast family visit this last weekend in NC. It had been planned since last summer: w/o telling me why exactly, my mom asked if we could be in Charlotte the next February 18th, that it related to a potential Christmas present, so she needed to know yay or nay back then. I am SO GLAD we live close enough (6½ hrs now instead of 10-13!) that we could "yay" that proposal! Months later on December 25th, we opened tickets to the Broadway tour of Spamalot for this last Saturday night. Perfection: this was a show that the guys truly enjoyed, and going to the theatre has always been important to me & my mom. Growing up, we had season tickets (5th row center = to.die.for!) to all of the Broadway tours that came through Charlotte; so I was always up on the current theatre scene. We also went on several NYC Broadway trips, packing in four or five shows in a Thursday-Sunday stint! :-D The last decade, however, brought moving away, kids, other financial priorities...and with those, a sad theatre drought. Our last NYC theatre trip was TWELVE YEARS ago, and honestly, my last Broadway tour show may have been...ummm...ten? [Omigosh - seriously?! The girl who BREATHED musical theatre from eight years old through college... :'( I do keep up with some theatre news and never miss the Tonys, but this has been a different season of life. Not that I won't go back to it one day, but I finished my last musical six months before I got pregnant with Will; standard rehearsal schedules, Sun-Thurs or Mon-Fri from at least 7-10 PM, just do NOT jive with young family life - or at least what I WANT MY young family life to be. Do I miss performing? YES, but that's why I loved singing on our churches' praise teams so much! It totally filled that stage-and-performing-with-a-purpose-shaped hole.]

Holy digression... ANYWAY, suffice it to say, it's been a long time since this thespian and her mama have gotten to go to a musical together! :-D

We drove up Friday evening and spent Saturday trying to see as much family as possible. JB & Hershel had "guy time" while my mom, the kids, & I drove to my hometown (~45 min now from my parents) to pick up my Grandmommy (who turns 100 in just two months!) and her sister, Aunt Frances, and take them to my brother & his wife's house for the cousins to play a few minutes:
[Cousins: with my brother & SIL's son, Matthew]

We then moved the family caravan over to R&R Barbeque, where my dearest BFF Wendy & her son Alex met us for lunch. [It never feels like there's enough time, you know? It doesn't matter if you've just got time for one meal together or two weeks to work with...] Will was THE cutest: he took my debit to pay the bill and even signed for it (with my winking approval to the cashier. ;-))

After getting all family back to their respective abodes, we had to hit my beloved Costco & Trader Joe's (my two favorites that don't exist in SW Georgia) for massive stock-ups: Kirkland Diet Green Tea, Trader Joe's Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina, Multigrain Baking Mix (hello, double waffle iron!), Frosted Shredded Bite Size Wheats (basically MiniWheats, but indescribably BETTER), etc.

After family and grocery gratification, the day would have been classified as a satisfying success...but then we had our whole dreamy theatre evening! The kids stayed with a neighborhood sitter while we four adults went out like we used to! We got reservations at Emeril's newest restaurant - in Charlotte, literally beside the theatre! - called e2 emeril's eatery. Y'all know what foodies JB & I are, so we were in heaven!!! I *never* order off a menu in the "suggested" way - not out of rebellion, but b/c #1 - I am CHEAP, and #2 - I want lots of different tastes, not one huge entrée. I usually prefer the starters and sides to any over-priced hunk of meat, so I'll often order a side for my appetizer with a starter (& another side, if I desire) for my main course. Saturday, I had the side portion of the Corn Risotto to start, followed by the "Fried Ashley Farms Chicken Thigh on a housemade “Old Mill” buckwheat waffle with slaw & sorghum molasses" starter as my entrée, along with an irresistible side of Israeli Couscous. I am dying for that couscous dressing recipe!!! The vinaigrette was so nicely balanced, and it had pine nuts, currants, artichoke hearts, & finely diced tomato. Pure heaven...

And back to where this post started, the show was great! It felt wonderful to be back close to the stage (not as good as singing ON that stage, but still ;-)) and we all really got into it. It was just a dreamy time from start to finish! I am so very blessed...