Last weekend we took off to see our friends in Charlotte and to have an excuse for me to shop at IKEA. IKEA shopping didn't go too well though. We bought everything on my list which was just a bunch of small things. And we bought one thing that wasn't on my list but that we really needed - a small metal round side table. Well, guess what? I went through self-service checkout lane and, trying to keep one eye on M and the other one - on the checkout display, I ended up forgetting the darn table. I did pay for it, just forget to grab the box. That was on Friday afternoon. I didn't discover it until we came back home and unpacked on Monday evening. Urghhh...
But the visit itself was great. The boys (M and our friends' 2.5-year old) played together most of the time and didn't get into too many squabbles.
On Saturday we all went to the town of Waxhaw for a stroll. It's always nice there, at least in the old historic part of town. This time we went to a small farmers' market, watched a cargo train go by, had a coffee break at a local coffee shop (that's where I saw this awesome headline in a local paper).
The boys behaved well enough that we even stopped by a couple of antique shops. After a short stop at a broom-making store (it's like a museum there - very interesting and the owner weaves brooms while chatting you up) and a long one at a used books store, we headed back to the house.
The next day we all went to Charlotte proper. I've never been there before and didn't expect it to be such a pleasant city to stroll around. The museums are aplenty, but pricey. We went to the Museum of the New South - a very interesting place and very kid-friendly. So kid-friendly, in fact, that it was hard to get the boys out of there on time.
We also walked past the B0A headquarters building(s). Lemme tell you something - if you have any doubt about whether BoA is an evil organization, just take a look at their building and a piece of sculpture adorning the small plaza in front of it. I guarantee you won't sleep for a couple of nights. Another urghhh!
Ah, we did go to a couple of parks. One, the Freedom park, was especially nice and I think we could've strolled around it for hours. And they have a playground too. And on that playground they have a REAL steam engine! The kids can go inside and look out of the windows and pretend to be the drivers. M flat out refused to leave the park declaring that he wanted to stay there for the rest of the day and be the engineer.
In the evenings, after putting little ones to bed, we watched artsy movies (ok, OSS117 was an exception), drank red wine and ate delicious chocolate cake that my friend Lana makes so well. Oh, and she also speaks French (in addition to Russian and English). So on our first evening there we decided that she'd try to teach me some French. It was fun, although after some wine I definitely had problems concentrating on the grammar.
Chris and Lana's hubby, Patrick, grilled one evening. Actually, Chris grilled 'cause Patrick said he needed to learn from a real American (Patrick is Belgian). Check it out - doesn't Chris look really manly and all-American next to this big shiny grill?