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Year: 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Or Happy New Years Eve! 

I’ve been in the frozen tundra of Minnesota with, get this, NO internet connection.

It’s true.  It’s like I’ve traveled back to 1995. 

We are visiting with one of Bill’s very best high school friends tonight, Paul Roback, and …get this … they have a computer, and internet … and I couldn’t resist at least a very short post.

Lots of stories to tell in 2010!!!

I just need to get back to an internet connection!

Happy New Year!!

Darla

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Darla Stories – New York City

Darla Stories – New York City

Two quick things I didn’t want to forget because I thought they were SO very funny.

The first was that when we landed in New York I called my voice mail and there was a message from my frustrated sister.  It said … “I’ve looked EVERYWHERE for your phone.  Where is it?!?  The phone keeps ringing and ringing and we can’t find it anywhere.”  (The ringing and ringing was really true because there was a mayoral election while we were gone and they literally called all day long trying to get the vote out.)

I called her cell phone back and joked and said … “I probably packed it in my suitcase.”  

Which just so happens to be exactly what I did!
When I got to the hotel I found  OUR ONLY HOUSE PHONE in my suitcase.

It was packed in the compartment with my hair brushes and I’ve tried to get my sister to realize that a brush handle and a phone are kind of like the same size, shape, etc. but she isn’t buying it.  She cannot understand how a person can pack THEIR ONLY phone in their suitcase.  

She lived with me all those years … I can’t believe she was surprised.  

And secondly … well, it was my hat.

Deah went through our pictures when we got back.  She quickly pointed out that IN EVERY PICTURE my, oh so cute hat, is on incorrectly.

Apparently the “embellishements” are supposed to be off to the side, like this …

 
But yet I, in EVERY picture,  had my embellishment right smack dab in the center of my forehead.  Like a cyclops or something.
 
The worst part was, when Deah started making fun of my cyclops look, Caroline said … “yeah … I kept wondering why you didn’t move the flowers over to the side.”  And yet she never said a thing.  Teenagers.

I can’t tell you how much we’ve laughed about it.


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Peace, love and unicorns …

Peace, love and unicorns …

This past week has been jammed packed.

There were school Christmas parties to attend:

A Living Nativity at church, complete with camel and donkey ride:

Savannah and I went Christmas caroling with her Brownie Troop:

And afterwards we made s’mores:

There was a Christmas dance for parents in ballet and jazz (please notice the little girl in black … the only girl in black – that would be Savannah).  She had not gone to class the week before and so we didn’t get the reminder to wear the red costume.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the red costume in the attic during her class.  Let’s just say … it was not what I would call one of my finest hours as a mom.)

  Saturday we went to a gymnastics meet … Brittany’s first one with her new gym.
 She loved it:
Tonight was our annual (we don’t know what number) Christmas Nativity with our friends the Browns and Lackeys.  All day Jacob kept asking me … “when are we going to the Activity”.    I told him it was Nativity … but he just kept saying activity.  He wanted to reprise his role as a sheep and almost drove me crazy saying …. “I’m practicing my lines … BAAA, BAAA, BAAAA.”
And … Brittany taught me this little fact this week:  Did you know there are no animals mentioned in the nativity story in the Bible?  None.  Nada.  Doesn’t mean they weren’t there … I mean Joseph and Mary had to put their donkey somewhere didn’t they?!?  But, if you ever find yourself in a heated game of Bible Trivia … the correct answer to:  Are there animals mentioned in the Nativity story, your final answer should be “no”.
This year Savannah got to play the role of Mary:

This is when Mary and Joseph found out there was no room for them in the inn:

The sheep:

Hark, the herald angels actually sang … which was a new edition from previous years!
The star shone brightly:
And so it was accomplished to them … or however that part goes.
Let me assure you, it is quite a production.
The adults have as much fun as the kids!

And soon … very soon, we will be building one of these (rumor has it a blizzard is brewing where we are headed):

He’s cute and is our only “light” decoration outside this year.  Normally Bill puts lights on the house, but as you can see, we’ve been kinda busy.  My sister actually put this up when she was in town … or we’d look like the Scrooge of the street.

And y’all … this is funny.  I just took a look at my email and saw that I had one from a little girl in Savannah’s class.  She was responding to an email that Savannah had sent to her earlier today.  I never saw what Savannah sent until tonight … and this is what it said:

have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Happy Couanza and Honacah! peace love :-P and peace love unicorns

love
Savannah

I guess that says it all!

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Compliments of Zales Jewelers …

Compliments of Zales Jewelers …

We didn’t have a whole lot of time on Sunday but Caroline’s Spanish teacher had given her “homework” to do in New York.  Her teacher loved the Eloise books when she was a little girl and envisioned having breakfast at The Plaza Hotel just like her.  She got her opportunity and emailed me that she wanted Caroline to “get to” do it as well.  And if it’s homework you have to do it.

We enjoyed their breakfast buffet:

(Doesn’t Bill look a little like Daddy Warbucks in the velvet highback chair?)

We took a few pics around the hotel:

And then we headed back onto the town.  We had one more thing we wanted to do … if we had time.  We really wanted to ice skate at Rockefeller Center.
 



We got in what started out as a very long line.  We knew we needed to skate in the 11:00-12:00 session so we could make it to the airport.  The rink closes from 12:00-12:30 to groom the ice.  It became clear that we were not going to make it into the rink in time.  No one was leaving their session (can you blame them?!) and the time kept ticking away.

Bill decided that we should stick around for the 12:30 session.  We were first in line for that one and he thought we could skate for about 15 minutes.  Now, let me just say here, it costs $29 per person to skate.  So, it was going to cost 87 bucks for us to skate around a time or twenty and leave.  And that might have been fine back in the day when it was just me and Bill, but it seemed mighty expensive at this point in life.

So I said things like … “that seems like a lot” which turned into “that seems silly”, etc.  Bill said things like … “when will we have this opportunity again?  This is one of your favorite memories.”, etc.  And as I was mulling over whether or not to agree with him, I looked over and saw a sign.

Like, a literal sign that said … “12:30 session compliments of Zales Jewelers”.  And by “compliments of” I didn’t know if that meant they were sponsoring a contest or who knows what … but I intended to find out.  So Bill went and asked and sure enough!!!  Zales Jewelers was picking up the entire tab!!  Another Christmas miracle!

We had a BLAST!

 
 I did some pretty impressive moves:

One of the reasons we were able to get in when we did was because it started to rain.  Now people, rain is nothing more than liquid snow.  And we enjoyed that liquid snow … oh yes we did.  Thankful for it in fact.  Without it, the line would have been much too long.  And I mean really … it was free.
 

And it was very fun.  Very, very fun.

Kind of like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, Santa showed up at the end.  Wished us a Merry Christmas.

 

And here’s the thing …

One of those Zales diamonds might last forever, but let me tell you, the memories of this trip will last a lifetime.  Words can’t describe how much we enjoyed spending time with our oldest daughter … alone.  And while we missed the others, we treasured the time with her.

Thanks for the memories … New York, New York.

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Quick pics …

Quick pics …

Since Bill was joining us for the last two days of our trip, our days of sleeping in were over.  Which was fine … because really, there’s a lot to see and do.  First stop, Tavern on the Green.

New York’s legendary Central Park restaurant is closing it’s doors on December 31.  It’s probably time because the restaurant is looking a little past it’s prime (aren’t we all?!), but it’s kind of sad too as it is such a fixture of Central Park.  It will open next year as The Boat House.

We enjoyed our brunch in the Crystal Room which, although dated, is still lovely.


 From there we went and walked in the park for a bit.  I did my best Jackie O impression with the glasses I had bought the day before (just prior to the locked van incident!).


My mom suggested we ride the Carousel … and I am so glad we did!

It went super fast … in fact, I believed I could fly!



From there we did the Hudson River Cruise.  We wanted to see the Statue of Liberty and this seemed like the best way to do it.

It was freezing.  FREEZING.

But we saw Lady Liberty:

The cool thing about this is that Caroline’s great grandparents (Bill’s moms parents) came to America via Ellis Island.   There is a plaque on the wall with their name on it … that we will have to see sometime … IN THE SUMMER.

The sun set while we were on our “cruise” so we got to see NY in the day and night from the water.
 

Four hours on a boat with only M&M’s to sustain us left us looking us a bit hungry.  Upon recommendation we went to Joe’s Shanghai Dumpling House.  It is in China Town but well beyond the tourist first couple of streets.  The restaurant was packed … mostly with New Yorkers … and you shared a table of 8.  It was good we sat with other people because they coached us through what to order, how much to order, etc.

We read on one of the articles on the wall that the NY Restaurant Critics voted Joe’s as one of the top 2 places they would tell a friend to go whose trip only allowed for 2 meals to eat in New York City.  And if you go there and only have 2 meals … well I agree with the critics … go to Joe’s!

After dinner we went back into town to take a few more quick pics:

And go to the top of Rockefeller Center:


Someone told us we needed a piece of cheesecake from Junior’s in Times Square (AS IF WE HADN’T EATEN ENOUGH!) so we went there and it was well worth the trip.


And walking back from Junior’s?!?  We ran smack dab into the Baylor Womens Basketball team.  Kind of hard not to miss them…they are so tall!

After that, we called it a day … which, ironically,  is exactly what I’m going to do now!




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A trip down memory lane …

A trip down memory lane …

Last week I mentioned my first trip to New York when I traveled with my friends Mark and Ashley for the weekend.  Every other time I have been with Bill and some of our favorite memories were made in New York.

We first visited together the Thanksgiving after we graduated from Baylor.  Two of our dear friends from college, Jeff and Becca Chance, were living in the city and invited several new Baylor grads who were living on the East Coast to come celebrate Thanksgiving in New York.  Bill flew to D.C. from Minneapolis (where he was working) and we took the train up from D.C., where I was working.  Mark was there with me again as he was at Yale, Pamela was at UVA, Donnie Willett (now on the Texas Supreme Court) was at Duke.

After we arrived we all met up and roamed through the area where the parade balloons were “lined up” ready for the next day (yes, I think this is may have been where the balloon handler dream all began).  As we walked through the area, snowflakes began to fall and I remember watching a vendor “roasting chestnuts on an open fire” and thinking that it was about as close to a perfect night as I could imagine.  We went inside a little diner and had hot chocolate, we were with friends, we were head over heels in love, we were in New York and it was snowing while a man cooked chestnuts over an open fire.  Kind of made you want to pinch yourself.

We got up early on Thanksgiving Day and went to the parade and it was STILL snowing!!!  I know I keep saying I feel like I’m in a movie sometimes, but seriously … it was like a movie.  After the parade we went to Jeff and Becca’s church for our Thanksgiving meal.  We ate in the fellowship hall and we were together with the pastors of the church and the people from the congregation who seemed to not have anywhere else to go.  It is very hard to explain, but it felt like right then the church was doing exactly what the church was made to do.  It was the most meaningful meal I’ve ever had in New York.  Here we were, fresh out of college and we really didn’t have the money to eat anywhere else that day.  But honestly, I don’t think anywhere else could have matched that meal.  We were hungry and they fed us, we were tired and they gave us a place to sit.  They loved us and welcomed us.  It gave me such an appreciation for having a place to go and a compassion for those who don’t.  I so wish I could explain it better.

The next morning we saw the Rockettes show for the first time.  I loved seeing them but when they got to the living nativity and the animals walked across the stage?!?  It was spectacular.  It was moving.  I had no idea the message of Christ’s birth was so strongly shared to literally thousands and thousands of people … I was blown away.

The whole weekend was incredible.  Perfect.  And it ended as wonderfully as it had started.  Bill and I had just a second before we had to catch the train but we really wanted to ice skate at Rockefeller Center.  We realized, in line, that we weren’t going to have enough time to skate.  Bill and I both thought we were going to have to leave as the session was almost over and staying for the next session wouldn’t allow us enough time to catch our train. They told us we could skate the last few minutes of the session because a few people left.  They left because there were maybe ten minutes left to skate.  We figured it out and we spent something like $7 a minute to skate.  TOTALLY WORTH EVERY PENNY.

I vividly remember skating to one of Amy Grant’s Christmas songs and again thinking … this has got to be about as good as it gets.  It was honestly THRILLING to hear that music piped SO loudly while we skated underneath the tree.  You might have had to be there, but it’s one of my favorite memories of my life.  One of those moments where you say to yourself … “I think this might be as happy as you can get”.

Several years later I was working in Nashville and the company I worked for had a penthouse SUITE in the financial district.  You could see the Statue of Liberty from it and staying in it made me feel like I was running things for Donald Trump or something.  Bill joined me up there a time or two and once one of the Hilltop Honeys (Debra Rountree) and her husband met us and spent the weekend at the suite.  TO THIS DAY we laugh about how Mark had a terrible cold and kept moaning that his “coat was too heavy” when he walked.  Don’t be confused … it wasn’t keeping him too warm, he just felt so bad that it felt like a burden to walk around wearing it.

We each bought an ornament of a New York taxicab with a Christmas tree on top in Grand Central Station and we’d typically call each other during the holidays to say how much we loved looking at the ornament and remembering how much fun we had on that trip to New York at Christmastime.  All that came to a crashing halt a few years ago when some bugs decided to EAT my treasure in the attic.  I was kinda crushed but Mark got us a replacement the following year.

Which is good because I really must laugh about his heavy coat at least once a year.

It’s a tradition.

On that trip Bill and I somehow, without reservations, got into the Crystal Room at Tavern on the Green (this was the early 90’s so it was in it’s heyday).  It was probably the most expensive meal we’d ever had together but we loved it.  The Christmas decorations were spectacular and it got dark as we ate making everything even more magical.

Later we went with Mark and Debra to have cheesecake at The Plaza (even though Mark should have been in bed!).  Not sure what we laughed about, but I remember laughing.  Now that I think about it, we were probably laughing at Mark.  And his coat.

Two years ago (when Caroline’s dream of going to New York began), I accompanied Bill on a trip to NYC in November.  They were just putting up all the Christmas decorations and the excitement was in the air.

While Bill worked I went and watched the “Live with Regis and Kelly” show being taped … which was fun even though I had to get up at 6:30 in the morning.  The woman sitting next to me won a prize so I know … for a second anyway, I got on TV.  Regis cracks me up and I always wanted to be his sidekick.  Fifteen minutes everyday to tell funny stories about what happened the day before?!?  DREAM JOB.

I also wanted Katie Couric’s job.  I started out as a Radio/TV major and did internships at the BBC and NBC in London and stations in Little Rock and Dallas.  When I found out you had to live in a small town and work your way up … and I knew Bill wasn’t headed to any small towns … well, I changed my dream.

But I still love TV and went with Bill on that trip to do the whole … “stand in front of the Today Show window and wave” thing.  It just so happened that I was standing next to some UVA graduates who were Tri Delts there.

Now I was a Chi Omega at Baylor, but when Katie Couric came out and talked to those ladies because they held up little Delta signs with their fingers … well I held up a Delta sign too.  I never lied.  I just made a triangle with my fingers which doesn’t break any kind of Chi Omega rule that I know of … and it got Bill and I invited onto the studio set.  She asked me when I graduated and I said “1989”.  I just didn’t mention that it was from BAYLOR.

That is totally not lying.

(I’d show you my picture with her, but that would take more effort than I’m willing to expend at this late hour to try and learn how to scan a picture … but one of these days I might just do it.  Anyway … had a nice visit with Katie and I laughed for days about my Tri Delt charade.

In fact I still laugh about it.  It’s funny.

One thing I loved about that trip was that Bill and I didn’t feel any pressure to go and do anything.  We were training for the 1/2 marathon (THE ONE HE FORGOT TO TELL ME WAS 13.1 MILES – totally a story for another day) so we spent the morning running through Central Park.  The leaves were changing, it was cool and crisp … and pretty much I felt like a New Yorker.  I ran in Central Park and hung out with Katie Couric.  That’s totally a New Yorker thing to do, dontchathink?

Anyway … after our run we got ready for the day and went back to Central Park.  We tried to get into Tavern on the Green again (just for dessert) but they would hear nothing of it.

We were a little dejected but thought it would be fun to rent a boat and row on the pond in Central Park.  I thought it was VERY romantic.  Boat with oars, cute guy rowing.

I looked over and saw another “in love” couple doing the same thing.  Except in that boat I noticed that the guy was reading to the girl what I assumed was poetry.  I said “OH my gosh … how awesome is that?!?” and Bill (not to be outdone in the romantic department) said … “I’ll quote you poetry”.

And he began.

Using his best Martin Luther King deep baritone, he proclaimed …

“YEA THOU I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH…”.

I almost fell out of the boat I was laughing so hard.

I wanted poetry and he’s quoting me the 23rd Psalm … about the “shadow of death”!?!

He (correctly) told me it was the poetry of David and that was legitimate poetry (which, by the way, Caroline pointed out to him was also so old it is now called SCRIPTURE).

Don’t get me wrong … it was sweet.  He tried.  And nothing wrong with Scripture … I was just thinking more along the lines of Robert Browning “how do I love thee, let me count thy ways”.

Every now and then Bill will pull that preacher voice out of hiding and start out with the 23rd Psalm and I will bust out laughing … every. single. time.

And so why did I take you down this (very long!!) trip down memory lane?  Well, my intention was to tell you that we spent the better part of the next two days showing Caroline the places that were special to us.  Telling her the stories of things we had done, where we had stayed, people with whom we had shared memories.

And we made some new memories of our own.

And I intended on telling about these new memories but I have now absolutely exhausted myself … and I’m pretty sure I’ve exhausted you too (hellooo…anyone still out there…?!?) with these tales of long, long ago.

The memories will have to wait until tomorrow.

This memory maker has 3 school Christmas parties to prepare for tomorrow, 4 children to wake up in just a few hours.

In case you are wondering, I’m planning on sleeping next week!

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I “believe” we had a good time!

I “believe” we had a good time!

Friday morning looked a whole lot like Thursday morning.  Sleep in and get up and ready in time for lunch.  It’s a recipe for success if you ask me. Plus … we had these awesome black out shades in our room that seemed to block out light and sound.  I don’t think I’ve slept that hard or that well in years.

We headed straight to lunch in Union Square at Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar.  You walk in and smell the chocolate (which is running through pipes in the ceiling) and you know it’s going to be good.  Although eating dessert first is not a problem, we heard their burgers were good as well.

They did not disappoint.

 

We did a survey of almost every waiter in the restaurant asking … what is your favorite dessert, what is most popular.  And they almost all said something different.  So Caroline settled for a warm chocolate molten cake which came with warm chocolate syrup, ice cream … and a shot of chocolate.

I enjoyed the chocolate/banana/waffle dessert which came with chocolate syrup and chocolate covered Rice Krispies to sprinkle over the top.  I’m not sure of the official name … I’ll go with “Perfection on a Plate”.

Caroline has a serious sweet tooth.  Chocolate and dessert are words of love to her.  But even she, who could eat her weight in chocolate, went over the top at Max Brenner’s.

She recovered quickly because there was shopping to be done.  There are Christmas vendors in Union Square and they sell the most unique things … totally different than what we found anywhere else.  We enjoyed looking around and then decided to take a Subway to another shopping area.

It was here that a lady told Caroline … “you are cute … you could have a career here.”  And let me tell you … it would be better than a career here:

This was Canal Street.  Let me say up front that I had no idea it was going to turn out like it did.  I never would have done it had I known.  We were INNOCENTLY looking around when a woman asked us if we wanted to see some designer bags.  We said “sure”.  Now I’ve been to Canal St. before so I did what any mom would do (OK, maybe not!) and said … “Caroline, be cool.  Be cool.  They are taking us to a back room … just act cool.”

Except they didn’t take us to a back room.  They took us down a street and into the back of a locked van with no windows.  It was then that I was pretty sure I wasn’t buying a purse but giving them mine … and I was fully prepared to do this as I was having horrible thoughts of Caroline and I ending up in the bottom of the Hudson River or something.  The lady kept holding up purses and saying “you like?  you like?” and I started mumbling … “I don’t feel comfortable.  I need to get out.”

Next thing I know she is on a walkie talkie thing talking in a totally foreign language and I’m quite sure this is it.  Mother/Daughter Day gone bad.

But once she got the all clear she let us out.  And I apologized profusely to Caroline telling her to never, ever do that again.  She laughed at how I was the one saying to “be aware of your surroundings” and then I’m all hopping in the back of locked vans with no windows.  Go figure.

About five minutes after our criminal escapade, Bill showed up.  We told him what had happened and I think he said something about that not ever needing to happen again.  He also asked me how many episodes I’d seen of Law and Order and if it hadn’t made any kind of impression on me.

It was all very exciting.

From then on Bill accompanied us everywhere we went…and we seemed to stay out of trouble.  The subway:

The Empire State Building:

 

I mean, he stuck to us like glue!

It wasn’t long before our wayward ways were a thing of the past.

Next up, Herald Square.

You know … where they film the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  And here’s a bit of trivia for you … I would LOVE to help carry a balloon in the parade.  I think it would be awesome.  I just don’t want to do it on a really cold year.  That and I don’t know how they pick the people who get to do it.  A girl can dream though, can’t she?

In fact … I “believe” one day it could work out!

I mean it’s New York … anything can happen, right?

The Christmas windows in the stores are so neat to see.

And then, there we were … walking into Macy’s on 34th St.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Next stop was Ellen’s Stardust Diner.

 

Ellen’s is a place where aspiring Broadway performers work at night and audition by day.  Many of their employees have gone on to great careers.

 

As we walked in, two of the wait staff were performing a song from Phantom of the Opera.  I’ve seen Phantom twice and honestly … I think that was the best I had ever heard it.  Please don’t think I’m exaggerating.  I’m not.  A girl named Grace sang and when we left I whispered to her that I didn’t think it’d be long until she was on the Broadway stage with her name in lights.

I loved all of the performers.

Our waitress loved Bill.


I told him not to tip her.  🙂

We had some good diner food and enjoyed great entertainment.

We paused for a cheesy tourist picture.  The funny thing is Bill told me to act like I was shopping for something in the store while he snapped a few pics.  I think Caroline and I and our rebel ways were bringing that good man down.

Next thing we knew, we looked up and lo and behold there was a place called “Caroline’s”.  It’s kind of hard to see in this picture, but it was really there.  And it was cute too.

We had yet to see the big tree at Rockefeller Plaza.

It is spectacular, stunning, breathtakingly beautiful.

I LOVED the dancing snowflake show that we watched on the side of Saks Fifth Avenue!

 

Just around the corner is the famous Magnolia Bakery.  We stopped in for their Red Velvet Rockette cupcake … because apparently we didn’t think we’d eaten enough that day!

Caroline convinced Bill it was too cold to walk back so we took another cab.   She loved “hailing” them … Bill loved to walk.

We took our cupcakes to Grand Central Station (our hotel was attached) to eat.

I kept telling them that I had seen a movie that was filmed there once but I couldn’t remember which one it was.  I racked and racked my brain until I remembered…it was Madagascar.  When the animals are fleeing the zoo.  It made me laugh that I worked so hard to remember MADAGASCAR.

I also laughed at Caroline who thought the chocolate Rockette “coin” that was on top of our cupcakes was one of those plastic rings you get on grocery store cupcakes. I can definitely put going to the bakery more often on my list!

The other thing to put on my list is to research how you get picked to carry a balloon in the parade.

Because I “believe” that would be very fun.

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Howdy New York

Howdy New York

I was so glad to be traveling with Caroline for many reasons.  One was that I hope she gets to travel more in her future and I want her to be prepared … to know how to ride subways, find departure gates, learn that room service is far too expensive … things like that.

Right before we left she said … “mom, I can’t wait until tomorrow morning.  I’m going to open the window and say ‘Howdy New York”!   And that made me laugh … mostly because I’m pretty sure they don’t say “howdy” in New York.  

Since New York is kind of a nighttime town and we’re kind of night time gals, we slept in on Thursday and Friday.  Sleeping in is very popular with the teenage crowd … and this mama didn’t mind a bit either.  

Once we got going it was well after noon and we needed lunch.  We walked quite a ways thinking we would have lunch at Serendipity.   We did a little street shopping – purchasing hats and gloves that we wore throughout our trip.  When we got to Serendipity they said it was an hour and a half wait.  Seeing how we were starving we decided to put our name on the list, lunch elsewhere and then come back for dessert.  It was a BRILLIANT plan.  We crossed the street and went to Patsy’s Pizzeria  which is a coal oven pizza place.  OH, the reminders of Italy were everywhere…especially when I ordered my prosciutto topped pizza.  It was DELICIOUS. Caroline got cheese … clearly a trip to Italy one day will be good for her.




We totally saved room for dessert because Serendity was beckoning.  When we went back it was exactly the time for us to be seated.  I absolutely LOVED the decorations at Serendipity.

But what I loved more was the dessert.  We discovered frozen hot chocolate.  And we declared it good.  Very, very good.
 

Good to the very last drop.



When we left we were beyond full but took a quick peek into Dylan’s candy bar.  Dylan is Ralph Lauren’s daughter and he gave her the shop for her birthday one year (nice!).  There are only four other Dylan’s in America one being in Houston and Caroline had celebrated her 10th birthday there.  It’s a GREAT place.

 We were honestly so stuffed we couldn’t even enjoy their samples.  But it was fun to look.
Just across the street was Bloomingdales so we went in for a quick peek.  On our way out they said … “Bobbie Brown will be at the make up counter in five minutes.”  Like, THE Bobbie Brown who designed the make up.  So we went.
When we got there they said … “would you like a make over?”  Well, duh.  So they did our make up and minutes later Bobbie Brown and Lauren Bush came out to promote a charitable project they are working on together. 
When they finished THE Bobbie Brown came over and inspected our finished looks.  I mean really?!?  Caroline’s first makeover and Bobbie Brown was telling her how gorgeous she is … and her photographer even took our picture.  Very cool.
 

  After a glam session a girl needs a little glitz.
Next up … Tiffany’s.

From Tiffany’s we walked … no ran towards Broadway.  We needed to run … we were still stuffed!  We got in the stand by line for tickets to Wicked.  We were the last two to get in before the show began.  The show was amazing.  The funniest part was when we went out at intermission and Caroline said … “so, that’s it?”  
See what I mean … she needed some more exposure to the world. She’s been to plenty of shows and knows what an intermission is, I think being in New York just threw her a little off her game.  We enjoyed the second half of the show as much as the first…maybe more.

All that culture caused us to work up a little bit of an appetite so we stopped at Ruby Foo’s in Times Square on the way home and got take out.  We ate it in our hotel room and pretended it was room service.  
I promise this day almost seemed like the script to a movie.

A movie deserving of an Oscar.  

It was that great.
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Better than expected … and I was expecting it to be pretty awesome!

Better than expected … and I was expecting it to be pretty awesome!

Y’all, I don’t even know where to begin.  I can’t think of a way to put words to what was one of the highlight weekends of my life.  

They say having teenagers is rough … and I know I’m only 9 months into this (and I do have realistic expectations about what the future holds) … but for this weekend in time … having a teenager was perfect.  You see, this weekend I didn’t just have a teenager, I had a friend.  

Caroline and I laughed and we laughed and we laughed.  We shopped, we ate chocolate, we had a makeover … we did what girls do on a girls weekend.  

And I loved it.  Every second of it.


From the time we ordered Pappasito’s Tacos in the airport (my lands they were good and it would just be all kinds of wrong to leave Texas without first eating a taco) to the time we ordered another taco when we returned, it was perfect.  All of it.  Things worked out we could have never planned, restaurants opened up just as we arrived, we found just the things we were looking for … and best of all we enjoyed each others company.  Here is where the adventure began:




We laughed about stupid stuff like when the heel on my right boot broke as we walked into the Hyatt.  That foot kept going deep into the ground and I told Caroline how strange it was that the Hyatt put carpet over a grate and that my foot kept going down into the grate.  Until I looked at my boot.  I thought it was hilarious.  

Two words.  Ding-y.  (get it – two words!? HA.)


Luckily I had my tennis shoes – which proved to be more “mom attire-ish” and less “New York trendy” but they were comfortable and we covered many a New York mile.

Starting at the Hyatt Grand Central Station:



Even though we didn’t get in until late, we headed out for a night on the town. 

Y’all it was awesome.

First for some hot chocolate from Starbucks … because you look cool carrying the cup if nothing else:




Then we got our name in lights.  BIG lights.  VERY BIG LIGHTS. VERY, VERY BIG LIGHTS.



 Very big lights right in the middle of Times Square.

This was kind of like a really big deal.  At least for me.  I mean, there we were, right smack dab in the middle of Times Square.  The American Eagle store was running a promotion called “15 seconds of fame” and if you purchased something in their store (I bought earrings), they would take your picture, add a message and put you up in lights.  

That’s me taking a picture.  It was on a loop about every four minutes and so we were “on screen” for hours.  Bill was sure that his boss, one of his brokers or bankers he was working with … someone – was going to come by and see him on the big screen.  I, on the other hand, was telling everyone within hearing distance about my brush with fame.  I kept yelling “That’s ME!  THAT’S ME!!”

It had  been a long time since our Texas taco so we treated ourselves to some New York street vendor “Chicken on a Stick”.  I love vendor food in New York.  It just tastes better there.


Dessert was at the M and M’s store!  I’m pretty sure chocolate tastes better in New York too.




Two weeks til the ball drops … right here …

(we’re rarely early for anything!)




Bill Baerg for President!



Love the lights of New York … all of them!



Quick trip inside the Waldorf Astoria … which is where Bill and I stayed two years ago.  It was while we were on that trip that Caroline decided her life long dream was to go to New York City.



And after spending four days with her there … I’d say she fits in pretty well …



And if she can make it there, she’ll make it anywhere …


New York, New York!!!

P.S.  There is so much more that you aren’t even going to believe!






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Grand Central Station … Take 2

Grand Central Station … Take 2

The very first time I ever went to New York City was the summer in between my junior and senior year in college.  I was interning for a Senator in Washington, D.C.  and New York was just a short train ride away so two of my good Baylor friends (who were also interning) and I took advantage of just that.

We left from Union Station in D.C. and an hour or so later we were walking out of Grand Central Station right smack in the middle of New York.

I couldn’t believe it.  I had made it to New York City.  Me, Mark Cole and Ashley Rodamacher.  None of us had ever been to the city before … and we were young and naive … and poor.

I still remember where we were staying …. Lowe’s Summit on 77th Avenue.  I probably remember that because we knew, upon exiting Grand Central Station, that we’d need to find a cab to the hotel.

And we must have had “country mouse” written all over us … because not four steps out of Grand Central Station and we’d already been robbed.

Someone approached us and asked if we needed a taxi.  We said “yes” and told him where we were going.  He said … “give me $20 and I’ll get you one.”  And Mark gave him a $20 … assuming it was to pay for the cab … and no sooner was it in the man’s hand than he started to run.  RUN!

And although I felt awful that Mark had lost $20, it also seemed a little exciting … kind of appropriate…that we got ripped off about four minutes after we arrived.  It felt so big city.

We still laugh about it to this day.  I laugh harder though when I remember Ashley running AFTER the robber.  Like what was she going to do when she caught him?!?  It was hilarious.  And I wasn’t naive enough to think chasing a robber in New York City was a good idea.

Really, I wasn’t.




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