I mentioned this trip in this week's Very Hungry Caterpillar Party post, so I thought I should go ahead and finish it and share it. Overall the blog has been quieter than usual, as I take time to enjoy spending time with my daughter while off of school. This last year was first grade and the first time she's ever been away all day. It was a tough adjustment for everyone. Between school and activities afterward, we don't get nearly enough quality time together to do fun stuff!
Another reason was because I've been planning and organizing her birthday party at Jo-Ann's and a surprise trip we took our daughter on for her 7th birthday! We surprised her by waking her up and whisking her away for an overnight trip to the new American Girl store that opened in Columbus, OH!!!
She had no idea where we were going until we turned the corner and she saw the sign, talk about excitement! She just love going to a store for the very first time and had an absolute blast. She told me on the way home, that the trip was so awesome that even if we'd only been able to come and had not been able to buy anything, it would still be the best birthday ever.
Not that we left empty handed, on no, we sure didn't. Grandma Norma, Grammy & Papa, and some birthday money she received as a gift helped take the ouch out of the purchases but it was we managed to drop quite a bit and we didn't even eat there or go to the doll saloon.
I had hoped she'd pick out a matching girl and doll outfit but she really wanted a couple other things and spent a long time considering her options. It was very fun for me to see her weighing her choices versus how much she had to spend and see how she she prioritized.
She already had Saige, the girl of the year, and we brought home both her horse Picasso and her dog Rembrandt. I couldn't resist the new picnic set with it's southwestern food and added that to the birthday gifts from us. Saige is from New Mexico which is where our daughter was born. Both also love art so this limited time only doll has been a very nice match for her. Since she's only around this year, I'm afraid we've fallen hook line and sinker to the marketing ploy of hurry up and buy all her outfits and accessories while you can.
We have another July birthday at the end of the month, when LB turns two and we didn't want him to be left out of the birthday treats. Across the American Girl store is a Build A Bear Workshop and LB had yet to go and build his own stuffed animal so that seemed like a perfect activity to make it special for him too. He is really into puppies lately, it's one of the few words he tries to say a lot. Not that he likes really puppies, he's actually quite scared by them, but he liked to see pictures of them or watch them from afar.
After all that shopping, it was time for some cheesecake, errrr....um, I'm a healthy lunch. We haven't been to a Cheesecake Factory since we lived in Santa Fe and went to one while visiting my Godbrother and his wife in Denver. We love this place and have since our first time going, when we lived in the San Francisco Bay area. We even went for Valentine's Day one year, sitting outside and seeing the San Francisco skyline is really a treat.
I was good and ordered a Chinese Chicken salad for lunch, even though a bunch of fried yumminess was calling my name, because I wanted to save my indulgence for cheesecake. I ordered the lunch portion, it was huge and really tasty. I wanted something light and still got some crunch in with the noodles. Birthday girl and I split a slice of lemon raspberry cheesecake, divine, and worth every.last.calorie.
The American Girl store is located in this huge high end outdoor shopping area. I've already decided we have to go back once the Paper Source comes this fall. It has nearly everything you could ever want in the area, including an Archiver's. Even though I'd been to one the previous week, they recently filed for bankruptcy for restructuring so as a good little scrapbooker I had to do my part to support them and at least take a look around this location, right?
They were even having a $1.99 Make and Take project and ER made herself the colorful bottle cap necklace above. I thought that was a great deal since it included everything from the chain to the paper, charm, and cap. We ended up going back the next day too, because they had a 40% off sale on all their stickers, washi tape, and embellishments. I'm mean it would be such a waste to be so close and not take advantage of that.
Even though the Make & Take period was officially over the second day, they still had supplies leftover. ER made another one, so she was very happy about that. I let her pick out some stickers and washi tape on sale for the Summer Fun book we are working together. I have to say it's so much fun to shop for scrappy stuff with my daughter. I got mainly little letter stickers because I can never have enough of those.
Dinner our first night was kind of a disappointment. I was so excited to find out a Mimi's Cafe in the area. I used to love going there, when we lived in CA, and I even blogged about the last time we were at a Mimi's. My favorites were the Spinach Dip, the Chicken Tender's Appetizer with Buffalo Sauce, and their Chicken Cordon Bleu. I also love the carrot raisin muffins.
But when we went they had completely changed their menu. I was so let down, I could already "taste" that dip and to be looking forward to something and not getting it...totally put me in a bad mood. They also used to serve a lot of their dishes with lovely big chunks of fruit and it was all bright and airy inside. This location was very dark and it was just not the experience I had hoped to have.
The next day I woke up with a better frame of mind. We went to COSI, a stop I'd picked with Brad in mind, and it was fantastic. It had a lot of hands-on activities, really interesting exhibits, and a Little Kidspace that LB just loved. He spent an hour there while ER went to a workshop, where she got to take apart a computer, and we had to drag him out. ER really like the Progress exhibit, where you walk through a city street in 1898 and 1962 and see how things might have changed over time. She also thought the Big Science Park, where you get to lift a car, was neat. I'm glad it stopped raining long enough for us to see it! There was so much to see, it's a really well done center and Columbus is lucky to have such a great resource for families. We'd totally join it as members if we lived closer.
The last thing we did before heading home after a long day at COSI was head to the Olive Garden for ER's belated birthday dinner. It's her favorite restaurant and she got her favorite meal, shells with Alfredo sauce, yum!
It was a lovely overnight trip and a birthday I'm sure ER will never forget! With that kind of kick off for year seven, I know E's year is going to be wonderful. We're so lucky to have such a sweetheart.