"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Monday, May 1, 2017

Country Mouse

Drew and I had a fantastic weekend in New York City! 
On the phone with our driver, who was no where he was supposed to be at the airport.  We found him and had quite the ride from LaGuardia into Manhattan at Friday rush hour.  Wow.  The guy was loud & unprofessional, the car was dirty, and I felt accomplished that I didn't throw up in the back seat (hello motion sickness!).  But we made it and got so see a lot along the way. 
 Checked into our hotel, checked out our room on the 42nd floor of the Crowne Plaza and then headed out to explore! 
 Rockefeller Center. 
 Laughing because we are so terrible at taking selfies.  (What you would be able to see behind us, if we were any good at this, is Rockefeller Center and the garden bar where the ice rink is during the winter.) 
 St. Patrick's Cathedral.  It would be beautiful anywhere, but I always find it extra striking when such a place is in the middle of the concrete jungle. 
 Headed in to Rockefeller Center...

 Top of the Rock!  I'm so glad we decided to go Friday night and see the city from above with everything lit.  Stunning. 

 We walked back toward our hotel to take in Times Square at night.  What a place.  Talk about feeling like a country mouse in the big city! 

 Saturday morning.  I was trying to take a picture of the view from our hotel, but the reflection has me in the photo.  Let's just say I that I did this on purpose to be artistic. 
 We took the subway to Whitehall Station to ride the Staten Island Ferry.  I'm so glad we did this.  The ferry is free and such a great way to see the skyline, the statue of liberty, Ellis Island, and more.  Also, we had a Coast Guard escort.  We're important like that. 
 I didn't know I would feel emotional over seeing these things, but being in a place with so much history was pretty powerful.  If we every make it back to NYC, I'd love to take the time to visit Ellis Island and put my feet where my ancestor's feet have been. 

 Back to Manhattan... we walked Wall Street and explored the financial district.  We saw the bull, but so did hoards of other people that were there at noon on a sunny Saturday.  Not the famous pic with the bull, but proof that I touched it...

I loved seeing this statue of the Fearless Girl.  I took a picture as inspiration to raise my own fearless girl.  

 Look at the top left corner of this picture... see the bull?  We were there :)
 Trinity Church was an unplanned discovery.  My goodness, it was beautiful.  What history.  We took it in, said a prayer, and left a donation. 

 One World Trade Center.  Amazing. 
I'm so very glad that we visited this place.  Like most Americans, I have my own memories of 911.  I remember what Russellville, AR was like on that day in 2001.  I remember college classes being cancelled, gas stations running out of gas, and blood donations centers overflowing with donors.  More than that, I remember 9-11-01 as the date that I first became aware that my husband could be sent to war.  It was the first real time that I considered his Army career as anything more than a weekend commitment and a way to pay for college.  For my family, the price of 911 meant missing my husband for 14 months while he served in Iraq as part of the response to the terror attacks.  That price was and is very real for me, but I am so grateful to have visited this place and gained a bit more understanding.   I took this photo of our tickets to the museum, and then I put my camera away.  I felt like this was a place of reflection and remembering, not a place for pictures and selfies. 
 Waiting for the subway back to the hotel.  Side note:  Ick.  I've ridden the subways in Washington DC and in Toronto and they were fairly amazing.  They were quite clean and I never felt unsafe.  The NY subway system was, well, less than impressive.  (Okay, I mean, it IS impressive that a system exists that transports thousands and thousands of people around under ground every day.  That is impressive.)   What I mean is... it was a bit scary (and we were never in a particularly unsafe place), absolutely filthy, and not terribly easy for a newbie to navigate.  I put a check beside this life experience and then said a prayer of thanksgiving for the comfort of my Ford Explorer and NW Arkansas roads. 
 Back to the hotel, showered, changed, and ready for dinner & a show! 
On the recommendation of two different people, we had reservations at Estiatorio Milos and it was fantastic!  It fresh and amazing Mediterranean food.  So that it's recorded for all to know... Drew had a grilled octopus appetizer followed by a tomato salad, a grilled Meditteranean Sea Bream entrée, and sorbet for dessert.  I had a grilled shrimp, crab cake & fava piazzi puree appetizer, followed by a tomato salad, lamb chops for my entrée, and walnut cake with honey lavender ice cream for dessert.  Oh, and a wonderful house Cabernet.  It was such a treat and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fancy dinner in midtown (or return for myself if I ever find my country self in this fancy city neck of the woods). 
And on to Wicked at the Gershwin Theater!  We saw Wicked at the Ed Marvish Theather in Toronto several years ago and loved it enough that we've looked forward to an opportunity to see it again someday.  I had no idea that that someday would be 2017 on Broadway!  It was amazing and I didn't want it to be over.  I couldn't help but think of my sweet Alex & her emotions over such things... a heart that was so bursting at the seams that her eyes teared up when something was JUST THAT AMAZING. 
 Back to the hotel and being super cool with the photos while we waited on the elevator :)
 Sunday morning we got coffee & breakfast to go and sat in Times Square to enjoy our last bit of time in NYC.  Our crazy driver arrived half an hour earlier than scheduled and traffic was light, so we got to the airport super early.  Waiting, waiting, waiting...
 It was a fabulous weekend and I'm so grateful.  Honestly, when Drew surprised me with this trip, I was flabbergasted.  Who does that?  Who just goes to NYC for the weekend?  Well, apparently we do and it was awesome.  Major props to my husband for such wonderful few days of experiencing new things and just being Mandy & Drew.  Major props to Kyle & Misty for helping me rip off the band aid of leaving my kid over night!  I'm happy to know that she asked about us repeatedly, but I'm also happy to know that she was absolutely happy & content with family.  Don't know if it's good or bad news that I'm totaling willing to leave her for a day or two more often. 
She got solo time with Uncle Kyle on Friday.  I knew with 100% certainty that she was in good hands. 
Uncle Kyle rearranged furniture to keep her corralled in the living room & play room.  I laughed so hard when this photo popped up on my phone.  (For those that don't know, this is usually a beautifully arranged sectional, recliner, and coffee table!)  

 She had a great weekend and was all sad & weepy when we brought her home last night.  My ego is only a little bruised over it.  Today is back to normal.  Grocery shopping was not optional, but also not a ton of fun.  I picked out a booster seat for her (seems the high chair might not be necessary anymore) and she cried because I wouldn't let her use the "potty" chair.  I'm so mean.   
 But we're all good :)

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