Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The End

Well I am happy to report that this is my last post for 2008. I'm pretty stoked that this year has only hours left. I'm also unbelievably thankful that I'm not in the middle of Times Square like NYE '07. Never again.


I'll close out this year with pics from when I was home for the holidays.


This is Miss. Ginna. We met up in DC and drove home. Sadly we missed the HOV lane. Biggest mistake of 2008. We were in so much traffic. We also passed by this guy in a truck w/ a bumper sticker that said something like "Don't even think of talking and driving". I couldn't pass it up. So every time we passed him (stop and go traffic) I would put my cell phone to Gin's ear and look at him and smile. Too bad he never looked over at us.















This here is the cutest picture of little wittle Lucy Goosey. We put it out every Christmas and never cease to make fun of her. But how sweet is it that such joy can come from a candy cane!


















Christmas Eve we went to hear my cousin sing at church. It was such a wonderful Christmas Eve service and the music was beautiful and very worshipful. There was also a candlelight part at the end where we sang Silent Night and then Joy to the World. My favorite!

The following morning we had breakfast at Greensboro's finest: Tex and Shirley's, with my cousin and her two sweet boys, Hayden and Brooks. Brooksie is my godson. They have personality!















Girls lunch at Panera. Here are a few of the '02 ladies!















Christmas in Winston Salem w/ my Mom's side of the family. I love this picture of everyone together.














Ginnawin and Jeffiepooh Fefferson.















Another Caldwell get-together at Katie and Seth's. Take note of David (in green)- he's in the Army and came home from Iraq for his sister's wedding. We're proud of you, Dave and thankful for your service to our country!!
What dear friends :D















It was such a great time at home!

Now, on to 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Give Me Five

Today is sweet little Nicholas' 5th Birthday! Hooray!

I just called him to wish him a happy five. But he was a bit distracted as him & Alecie got a Wii for Christmas. He had to get back to his golf game. ;)

Here's probably one of my favorite pictures of Nicholas back in Winter '06 when we used to build tents every morning with Irish Bear. What a love.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Funny Story

So, I'm still here and alive, despite my lack of posts.

It's been a steller time here in G-boro.

Yesterday we went over to Winston for a Christmas celebration. My Uncle Hunter is a ninja at the grill and made this amazing naan bread. My Dad thought it was unbelievably good and loved it so much he decided he wanted to make it. Uncle Hunter gave me The Barbecue Bible to copy the recipe but a game of Bocce ball got in the way and I left w/o the recipe. My Dad was still talking about the recipe today, so Lucy and I went to Barnes & Noble, found the cookbook and took pictures of the recipe. Shhh. Don't tell. We got all the ingredients and went home.

I started pouring the yeast and sugar together when my Dad busted out of his seat saying that I wasn't waiting for him! Say what?! So then Dad, for the first time in the 15 years I've been baking, decided he wanted to learn how. So we started and I explained about accuracy in baking, how to beat an egg, and other such things. Towards the end I had Dad stirring and I was measuring the flour. On the 4th cup of flour my Dad said, "Wow this is really heavy on the flour." I then said, "Dad. It's bread." We then busted out lauging. It was a great Father/Daughter moment.

Hope yall are having a wonderful weekend!

Oh and Ginna would like you to know that she is awesome in so many ways :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wrap it up...

So, as I'm sure you all know by now... I LOVE CHRISTMAS CARDS! Oh my goodness. Best part of my day is coming home to cards on the stoop. And yesterday I got a whopping 6 cards! Exhibit A are the ones I've received thus far (a few are Katie & Kath's).















And of course, I do have favorite Christmas card. I can't help it. Until I have kids of my own, these guys will be my favorite kids in the world (along w/ my godson Brooksie and Hayden). But how cute are Alec and Nicholas?!?!

















And since we're already taking a trip down memory lane, here's the picture of the boys when I first started back in '05. This is how I remember them. They were babies. They were darling and precious and everything was new to them. Such sweet memories!

(Gah! It's from Snapfish, so I can't make it any bigger, arg.)




Here's also a picture of the tree in our apartment. Katiebug got it and devoted a whole Sunday night to sewing popcorn and fresh cranberries on string. Bless her heart.




















I wish I had pictures of New York at Christmas (I do have them in my heart, awww). But I don't have actual pictures. Why?, you ask. Good question. Well it's because it has been COLD, people. I'm talking like bundle me up cold. I've never been one to have to wear 5 layers and tights under my jeans and 3 pairs of socks. But I'm becoming that person. New York is turning me into a weather wimp. Albeit, it's a lot colder than last year. I now have to don myself with hat, scarf, heavy coat, gloves... the works. I'm constantly walking at a fast pace to avoid the gusts of wind- oh but wait! I can't walk too fast or I will slip and fall to my death on the black ice that is everywhere. This, my friends is why you don't have pictures of the Rockefeller tree or BPark or other beautiful NYC Christmastime sights. My hands would freeze. (But I love you still, New York.)


Tonight I was on my way home and had to finish a few last minute shopping trips. Aside from getting my Dad's Starbucks gift card (sorry Dad, you know it is coming. Every year. No surprise there), I'm done w/ shopping! D.O.N.E. That's right. Well, I have no choice. Tomorrow I will be on the Chinatown bus (gag, gross, lice in my hair) until I reach that Ginna girl in DC where we will drive home just in time to be tucked in bed before Santa arrives in his sleigh. Since I will be in transit tomorrow, I had to get all shopping done today. But oh how I wish one year I could be done by December 1st.


Anyways as I was walking, I was wishing for a warmer coat. I think I need a puffer that goes to my knees. I have an old puffer coat that I used when I was a nanny but that probably has remnants of baby spit up, dirt, chlorine (the children took swimming lessons indoors, in the winter = having to blow dry a 2 year old's hair who has the wiggles) and who knows what else on it. Even though I have washed it many times, these things don't usually go away. But I kinda like that


So tonight I'm walking and everyone was in such a lovely mood. It really is like a Christmas NYC storybook. People passing with wrapping paper, Christmas gifts, Hanukkah parties in the window, the trains aren't as crowded and one man even gave up his seat (gets me every time). New Yorkers were saying their "please" and "thank you's", holding the doors for one another- you would think Christmas brings out the best in the City. And I think it does. But of course, there were those irritated cab drivers honking for a whole block. Gah! Peace on earth, people!


Anyways, farewell New York City at Christmas time! I'm headed to the South where I will dream of lighter coats, sweet tea, family, Rummmmy 2008, and so much more! But I will be back!



And to you, bliggity blog readers: Merry Christmas! Hope it's filled with good times with family and friends, good food and wine. But I also hope that you can pause and enjoy what this season is really all about.


O come let us adore Thee.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weekend Update

This past week has been super busy, but lots of fun. Tuesday I had dinner w/ my friend Tammy. We were nanny's on Long Island together and way back when, we would get lunch every Saturday at one of our "usual's" which was usually Moe's, Panera or various LI eateries. We would often catch up and talk about the week. I would tell such cute stories of my boys, cause they are AWESOME and she would tell me crazy stories of her nanny family. Anyways, gone are those days! Now we get dinner in the City after work. We're trying to become our own Zagat.

But when I was on my way to meet her for dinner, I was walking along 5th Ave and amongst the hustle and bustle, I wasn't really paying attention. I was passing Rockefeller, I look and boom! There's THE Christmas tree! Oh what surprising beauty. It is just as beautiful and majestic as it looks on tv.

Wednesday night we had all of our friends over for caroling and it was so special to sing such beautiful Christmas hymns. We did this last year at our other friend's apt. But thanks to my talented friends, and especially Cassie who knows how to play the guitar- we gathered around and sang old time hymns in worship.

Thursday night a few of my co-workers (Hi Suzizzle!) were invited by a former co-worker to meet up w/ her at the Yale Club for drinks. Oooh, how fancy! It was a lot of fun as we got to catch up in the biggest "living room" I've ever seen in Manhattan.

















Last night a few FG friends and I met up for dinner at Fetch, one of my favorite UES spots. You can sorta see the snow behind us! Burr, it was cold!















It's been a good weekend. Caught up on reading and just bought a ton of groceries to make cookies and other baked goods for my doormen and co-workers. I also stopped by the 92nd St. Y and got information on becoming a member. It is so impressive, you should check it out online. But that's about it. Oh and did I mention that I love New York City? If I haven't, oh yeah, I LOVE NEW YORK CITY- especially at Christmas time! I am so happy that I get to be here right up until Christmas Eve because it is magical!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Get your apron on

Here are a few of my favorite cooking blogs:

1. 101 Cookbooks- http://www.101cookbooks.com/
Last night I had my '08 Bible Study girls over for dinner before a ton of ppl came over for our 2nd annual caroling get-together! We decided to go "Recession-style" and make our own dinner instead of going out to a restaurant and getting drinks, dinner, dessert, tip, figuring out the bill -headache. So! In the afternoon I thought of the most fast and easy dinner anyone has ever made: Spaghetti. I was going to make the spaghetti and sauce, the girls bring the rest. So, boiled the noodles and then began my sauce. I am slightly outraged at the price of jar sauce when you can make it so easily at home! After finding this recipe on here, 5 Minute Tomato Sauce, I haven't bought homemade sauce since! I mean, 5 minutes! Can't get much easier than that.

2. Smitten Kitchen http://www.smittenkitchen.com/
I really love this site. She lives in NYC and makes/has recipes for things like Black and White cookies, and these rainbow cookies which are true to NY... I'd never seen them before living here. She's funny and knows her stuff.

3. The Recipe Girl http://www.therecipegirl.blogspot.com/
I've perused many blogs, but her recipes are very creative and seemingly original. Check it out.

So there you have it. Hope these become your blog bookmarks too, b/c I check them all the time!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I am DONE

Oh, I am sooooo done with 2008. Only 16 more days and this year will be over. I'm so ready. Buh-bye.

2009, bring it. I am ready for you.

I'm excited about this New Year.

2008 is so last year.

(ok, well, it will be literally in 16 days. but you get what I'm sayin)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Malar!

My dear friend Michelle's birthday is today!! We've known each other since we were in the 7th grade. How great is it to have some of your closest friends be those who have known you for many, many years! Happy Birthday, to you Michelle! Hope you had a wonderful day!

Michelle, whose initials are MLR (which I made into the nickname 'Malar') is in Vet school at VTech. You go, girl! Here's to two years from now when you can have a normal birthday w/ no exams! Miss you tons and can't wait to celebrate in the 'Boro!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The celebration of Allison's birth

Yesterday morning I called Al and wished her a Happy Birthday. She was on her way to work. We chatted for a while but little did she know I was standing right in front of the Bolt Bus holding a box of Buttercup cupcakes. Surprise!

I then hopped on the bus, plush leather seats and free internet (isn't that called wi-fi? sorry, I don't know these things. I'm ok w/ that and you should be too.) and started reading The History of Love and caught up on sleep. After our driver got lost (!?!?!?... the only bad part of the BB experience), I arrived in DC where Ginnawin picked me up. We got a late lunch and then headed back to their apt.

Oh what fun it was to just chill and stalk people on Facebook and look at Al's wedding planning thus far. We then met up w/ their DC friends, Doug & Kareem for an early dinner at a little Saloon/pup/bar in downtown DC. Afterwards we headed to Doug's house for cake, bubbly and a game of Nertz. So much fun. What wasn't fun was taking the Chinatown bus home (BB, you're my one true bus love. From now on. I promise.)... needless to say I will not be taking it again, if I can help it. Ew. Gross. Sick. Gag.

But what a wonderful day it was! Happy Birthday to you, Al! It was your last girlfriend birthday hoorah before B-dawg takes over next year. But, I promise, one of these days I'll make you a Texas Sheet Cake that isn't baked in the 8th floor Eggers smelly boy lobby (dorm days, folks). Here's to many more fun years ahead, Alpacs!























































Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fretzels!

I have no time to talk. I am super, crazy busy at work. It's almost 3pm and I haven't even had lunch. Gah! But oh how I love the UPS man who just delivered to our office a box of Fretzels! Oh how I love the company who is thanking us for our business by sending us Fretzels! Oh how I love the Holidays! I've never even heard of a Fretzel, but you can find them here:

http://www.fretzels.com/

Oh hooray for Fretzels!

And hooray that Allison's Birthday is tomorrow!! :D

Friday, December 5, 2008

Recent Pictures



The chandelier at Serendipity for Perralove's Birthday Celebration







The fam on the Brooklyn Bridge. The pressure was a bit much as we were stressed about getting the perfect Christmas card picture. There was much discussion on who closed their eyes, wait my hair is in my face, I wasn't looking, it's too bright, Dad's not in the picture, you're too close to me and so on and so forth. You can't really tell from our cheery, happy faces but we caused quite the comotion even so much so that tourists were taking our picture. Yeah, that kinda freaks me out thinking a random dude has a pic of our family on their computer somewhere.





The NY Knicks in all their glory.









Christmas party with our '08 girls!









Now with Perralove









Me and Kath in a funny, awkward picture with a plate of E's cookies and my cute lil MC Yall pillow. Every true Southerner in NYC should have one.





Here us oldies are trying to get a picture together. Sometimes it just doesn't work to get us all together and smiling and the best pictures are the natural, candid pics. Needless to say, we're old school and this is how we roll.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Please pass the Sambussa

One of my favorite parts of this past weekend with my Famiy was when Fre, our Ethiopian exchange student, and I went over to York and 83rd St. to a Zagat rated Ethiopian restaurant. When I was at home back in October, we went on Menu Pages and looked up Ethiopian restaurants in the City and found this one. I couldn't wait to take her.

We made the journey all the way to the East side of the City to lonely little York Avenue. It was this sweet little restaurant and when we saw it, Fre was so excited. We went inside and asked if we could get take out. After looking at the menu, I made Fre order in her native tongue (I forget what it's called). She completely ordered her dinner and two appetizers (for our family to share) in a language I couldn't even understand but what a thrill it was for me to watch her speak and to seem to be so "at home" where she was.

Fre and I then sat down at a little table while we waited for the food. It was such an incredible moment as she, it seemed, was overwhelmed with being in an Ethiopian restaurant, reminded of the culture (pictures on the wall, Ethiopian treasures for sell in the cupboard behind us). "I miss my country", she then said and shared with me a little about her parents who died when she was 11, 12 from TB and more about her brothers who are currently living in Ethiopia. I learned more about her way of life and even more when she began to open up.

I looked over at her and tears were streaming down her face. We talked about how hard it is to grow up with nothing and to come to America- study so hard and hope that there is a University that will offer her a scholarship, since she has little money and cannot work. We talked about what it's like to grow up poor and what it's like to grow up with the "security" money can bring. I reminded her that God can do all things. Oh how I pray she will be able to to college, and not just to appease her brother... but to work hard, study and learn new things and to enjoy this season in her life.

It was such a special time. I learned more about the world, more about Ethiopian culture and more about Fre. She opened up her heart to me and it was the best 20 bucks I've spent in a long time... it's almost as if there was no greater gift in the world that I could've presented to her that would mean more than her Ethiopian dish, a couple of (really, really spicy) appetizers and the chance to talk.

It gave me such an eye opening view of the world. And I'm so thankful that Frebers is helping me expand the lens by which I see it.



Here we are, excited about Ethiopian foooood!!!!

Put some South in yo mouth

Happy Wednesday to you all!

Last night, after work, I met up with my friend Tammy for dinner. We went to Brother Jimmy's BBQ where I enjoyed a nice, big plate of Southern yummness. I ordered an Arnold Palmer (everyone should know what that is, if you don't, go ahead, google) and when it came it had one of those drink sticks w/ the BJ BBQ logo on it and on the stick part read: 'Put some South in yo mouth'. Ah. Brilliant. Will do.

We arrived just in time for the after work madness of I-Bankers and other Suits who congregate at the bar... it seemed a bit crowded for a Tuesday night but then we realized that there was a Knicks game next door. (BJ's is right next to Madison Square Garden). Tam and I got to catch up but towards the end of our dinner, my inner passion and love for basketball got me thinking. We were right there... oh so close to the game. And the tv's at the bar didn't help either. How can you be sitting right next to the Garden, watching the Knicks game on tv and not want to be right there!??! So we decided to go try to find tickets. :)

We found our way to the entrance and were practically pounced upon by scalpers selling tickets. "Hi, you need tickets? C'mon, I'll give them to you for $40". Me: what? No way. "Ok, ok, I'll give them to you for $25." Me: It's halftime!! "Ok, lady, I'll give them to you for 20." Me: $15. "Ok, fine, give me $30 for both.". HA! Yes! Now we were promised the tickets, but who's to say they were any good. I then talked to this guy and asked him his name and introduced myself to him. "Hi Sam, I'm Carrie. Now, Sam, we've just officially met and you're now my friend. Friends don't give friends bad tickets." "No, no them here are good tickets. Do you want my cell phone number?" So long story short we talked with Sam and got his cell and then Tam and I went to the gate and sure enough our new friend Sam was true to his word!

We got to the game, found our seats and watched the last two quarters. Oh what fun it was! We had pretty good seats and I was able to bask in the greatness of the Garden and the NY Knicks. I especially loved seeing Chris Duhon, a former Dukie, and truly felt that his 23 points and 13 assists was just him showing off for me. And should I be so bold to say that I think he was looking right at me when I waved to him on the court?

Anyways, it was a great night and ended even better when I made it home just in time to watch Duke crush Purdue.

Cold, depressing Winter is redeeming itself with the glory of college (and now NBA) basketball!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December!

You know it's Christmas time because:

I got a real Christmas wreath and hung it on our wall. Made Christmas cookies. Am working on my Christmas cards (at work). My roommate bought a beautiful (fake) tree at KMart and decorated it soooo pretttty! The Christmas tree is going up in our nightclub-looking office lobby. Rockefeller tree lighting is only a day away! I went to Starbucks (I NEVER go to Starbucks) and got a peppermint frappuccino (not a fan of hot drinks). I'm begging my sisters to send me their Christmas lists. I've been listening to Handel's Messiah and it is the most amazing music I've ever heard and I have this crazy urge to hand my iPod to people around me and make them listen to it because I am convinced that they, too, will think it's beautiful. Tomorrow night is a deck-the-tree party at my friend's apt. We already got a gift basket at work! I'm about to order poinsettias for the office. I'm eating peppermint candies. Christmas trees are up on Park Avenue. People are more cheery. People are more rushed/hurried. The City is decorated. There in the back of my mind is the thought that I am only 22 days away from home. :)



Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving in NYC


It was such a wonderful time with my family.
Thankful <3

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life is good

My family is on their way up to NYC right now! Oh sweet.

What fun it is to have guests. To clean, bake, make sure everyone has clean sheets and a mint on their pillow (nah, jk on the mints... I actually put lavender on their pillow. Gotcha again). But I do love having people over!

So, I just made these homemade Cinnamon Rolls. Oh snap. They're amazing. Actually, I rolled and sliced and left the unbaked rolls in two dishes in the fridge, which I will bake in the morning. But the reject ends of the rolls, I baked up tonight and they're oh so good even w/o icing (I'll make that in the morning, too). You should try it. I will not lie, it's a ridiculously tedious process that requires much patience, 6 cups of flour (6!) and time alone in the kitchen. But if you're looking for a baking project, here it is:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Best-Ever-Cinnamon-Buns/Detail.aspx

I have to work tomorrow, which is cool. My family is going to get more of the touristy things out of the way while I toil away working for the man (but do not get me wrong, I love my job and am so thankful for it). Tomorrow night we might go see the Macy's floats before they make their debut down Broadway on Tgiving.

I just can't wait to spend time with my wonderful family!

Life is good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

And the dish ran away with the spoon

Well, come Wednesday I will be in the warmth of my own apartment here in New York while I graciously get out of everyone else's way in the City while they travel to LaGuardia, JFK or Newark to catch a flight in maybe/maybe not bad weather, lug around suitcases and deal with the stress of it all. I will most likely be baking away with my sweet family. Ahhh.

I am having a total of 12 people over for Thanksgiving dinner and am tickled pink! I can't wait! However, there is one problem. Where do we sit? We have a little round table in our kitchen that sits 4, maybe 5. I feel like it's not Thanksgiving unless we're all sitting at a table. So I might bring in the rusty old table from the terrace, throw a tablecloth over it and call it a day. That might work.

But then I come to the issue of our dishes. We have mixed matched plates and most of them are hand me downs from the girls who used to live here and almost all of them have chips on the edges. Oh how I wish I had beautiful plates and linens but I might have to resort to using paper plates (gasp!) and paper napkins. One day...

So a few weeks ago, I was walking to work one morning and happened to see these plates in the display window at Scully & Scully:



Oh they're so beautiful but for $60 per once a year plates I think I'll wait til I register. But if I could, I would love for these to be my Christmas plates. The ones I bring out for Holiday dinner parties and Christmas dinner. Aren't they just adorable? They remind me of my Mom!




I've also been eyeing these next plates and would love for them to be my Summer plates. They just look summery and of course they're of CP, which is awesome. And they can be found at Fishs Eddy in NYC.
















Ok, since I'm on a roll I'll also mention these other plates that I love. The pictures don't do them justice. Two of the families I babysit for have them and they are darling! They're from Villeroy & Boch and they can be my Spring plates.
I haven't thought of Fall plates, but I'll let ya know when I find them. I know it's pretty rediculous to think of having four sets of dishes for the seasons but it is fun to dream! :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thankful

Yesterday I hosted my 2nd Annual Tgiving Feast and what an amazing day it was!

A huge thank you to all of my friends for making it a wonderful time and for bringing such delicious sides and desserts! Yum!

me and Tom had a few issues but he pulled through!

friends!

the whole gang!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Busy as a Bee

Hi Friends,

Nothing new to report. But thank goodness it's Friday. I don't think I've ever been so ready to get to the weekend. Tonight I might be going to the Duke game at the Garden. My roomie is going now to try to get tix... oh that would be sweeet! But if not, then I'll go to FG and afterwards hit up my friend Bradley's bday party at a bar where apparently the Olsen twins celebrated their last birthday. Nice.

Tomorrow morning I will be a prisoner in my own apartment as I'll be chillin with Tom the Turkey as I bake his sweet little hiney in the oven. I hope Tom will work with me and give me his best effort (ie tender, moist) as there are 30+ people coming over to feast upon him! Yes, tomorrow is my 2nd Annual Tgiving Feast! I have been looking forward to this for months. Let's hope there's enough food and room for my sweet NYC friends!

Thanks to Facebook, I have heard from practically everyone in the South that it's snowing! Jealous! Send it up here, folks! Not that I need snow right now when my life is a little bit crazy... but bring it tomorrow after the feast, where I can sit on the couch stuffed as a turkey, watching a movie and watching the snow fall. Oh funny story, last year some guy friends wanted to go sledding in CP and didn't have a sled (we don't have a lot of space up here, people) so they thought of the bright idea to use someone's wok. Yeah.

It didn't snow a lot last year, so I'm hoping for a foot all at once this year. The first hour of snowfall in Manhattan is magical. So beautiful and serene. However, as we all know, New York doesn't stop. For anything. After a good few hours of snow, it's just slush on the sidewalks and you take the risk of becoming Carrie Bradshaw in the opening credits of S&TC when she gets splashed by the bus... as crazy cab drivers tend to get a thrill of driving fast through puddles leaving the innocent bystanders, waiting to cross the street, in a mess of dirty, slushy snow all over their Burberry coats. (Side note, I've thought it would be rather fun to marry a man with the last name Bradshaw... know anyone? I mean to be Carrie Bradshaw... I'd be cool for the rest of my life!).

Ok, well I'd love to stay and chat but I have a weekend to get to. So do you!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tonight

I'll be honest, I've debated on whether or not to share just NYC fun stories or to be real. It's easy to be real with your close friends and family who know you well, love you, know your heart and what brings you joy and what you struggle with. But this is a open blog and I don't know who all is reading it. For the most part, it will be light and fluffy. But I haven't been able to figure out what to write besides what is on my heart, which seems most pressing. Honesty is best and being authentic is something I'm working on. So here are my thoughts of late, both simple and deep.


Tonight I was the last one to leave work (rare) and before I left, I stood outside on the balcony and looked at the magnificent City in all of it's lights and grandeur. But it couldn't even compare to the sunset behind it. THAT is what is truly grand. That is what took my breath away. When time stands still, worries fly away with the wind and you take in all of the beauty.

This morning on my run, I started when it was really dark and I saw little white specks falling from the sky... I just figured that it was from the trees or something. Towards the end of my run, the amazing sunrise showed me that it was actually flurries.

My heart is heavy. Heavy for my friends who have lost their jobs and those who are waiting to hear if they still have a job. For those who don't have a home. For those whose home is the subway, the stoop of a church or the park bench. For my friends who are going through hard times. For businesses that have had to close. For my sweet Grandmother who is all alone. For friends who are struggling with singleness. For my "adopted for a year" sister who is from Ethiopia and lost her parents and has no money. For parents who have lost children.

I talked with my boys tonight and it made me miss them terribly. I talked with Nicholas for a good 4 minutes. We had a nice conversation- yes, we conversed back and forth. How is it that my heart holds such love? Why is it that I miss them so? I don't want to be a nanny again. But it somehow seems so unfair that they can't be a regular part of my life. That I wasn't supposed to raise them and care for them for two years and then just leave. How I wish I knew them now.... to know the little things. Like how Nicholas only liked certain, particular songs on a cd and what things would make him laugh... and the dinner plate Alec preferred and how we had our little, special bedtime saying. I don't know what they like now. And that's ok, they're not my kids. But sometimes it just seems unfair that I can't be with these two little boys I love so much.

I'm thankful for kind people... the ones who greet you in the doctor's office like you're the first and only patient they've seen that day. What cheerfulness and friendliness. It made me feel special and it will be remembered.

I'm exhausted and weary. For some reason it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders tonight.

But what joy there is in knowing and feeling the deep love of God- how he cares for the little sparrows like the ones I saw on my run this morning. But how, even more so, how much he loves and cares for me. And what better display of that than on the Cross.

That is my hope.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

'Tis the Season

I HAVE to go to this:









Can you imagine watching this ballet? Wow- who in NYC wants to go?


One thing I love about the wintertime is being cultured! It's Opera season and Ballet season. Christmastime brings the Rockettes and the Nutcracker. How wonderful!

Tonight at church we had an Open Forum. It started off with a full symphony and choir on stage and they performed Haydn's "Creation". The music was absolutely beautiful. Then Keller went into his lecture on 'Can faith be green?'. Good, interesting talk and I stayed afterwards for the q&a which was both of the same.

So, I'm all about traditions. I love traditions and how particular they are to people/families. I just decided on a new tradition I'm going to start. Here's the preview- two years ago I went to the Redeemer Christmas program where they probably had the same symphony & choir that was there tonight. The songs then included many classical pieces, mostly of Handel's Messiah. It was incredible. They did it last year and it was again, amazing.

I listened to Handel's Messiah growing up. We've always wanted to go to the Duke Chapel and hear it performed live- my Dad's dream! Last year I bought the whole Messiah cd on iTunes. From time to time I'll put my iPod on shuffle just to mix things up a bit in life... cause life can get mundane you know... but when I hear a song from the Messiah, I immediately and frantically hit 'next'!

I love Handel's Messiah but as every song played on my iPod is repeated a million times (that's how I roll, I repeat my fav's).... sometimes they can loose that specialness. Which is why my new tradition is going to be on the day after Thanksgiving to play Handel's Messiah for the first time that year and listen to it up until Christmas. Yes, there will be tears. It is that good. I'll probably play it when I start on my first batch of Christmas cookies. And my family will be here this year to start the tradition! Hooray!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Saturdays are for

Ooooh, helloooo Saturday!

I'm very much excited about this weekend. I have plans to make homemade applesauce, clean a little, catch up on tv shows, run and then go to my friend Em's holiday event later this afternoon. It's what every weekend should be: relaxing, time to cook, time to chill and hang out with friends.

It's been a rather uninteresting week. Nothing new to report. But that will quickly change. This is my favorite time of year- I love Thanksgiving and will get to celebrate it twice! Next weekend I'm hosting my 2nd Annual Tgiving Feast w/ 30 of my dearest NYC friends. It will be grand. Oh I am just too excited. Then the following week is when my family comes up for the actual holiday! I can't wait!!

Also, to start the season off right- Duke will be at the Garden next week. I can't make it Thursday night but am hoping to get tix if they're in the Final on Friday. Bring it.

And to close, I would like to CONGRATULATE my sweet friends Sheila and Andrew on the birth of their beautiful baby boy Hudson Isaiah who was born yesterday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If....

I could be anywhere in the world... I would want to be right here:


Monday, November 10, 2008

The things we do for you people

Ok, it's a little early, I know. But I wanted to tell you one of my favorite things: Christmas/Holiday cards.

I love Christmas cards- I love sending them to friends & family and of course those people who you sadly only keep in touch w/ once a year through a Christmas card. I love the stationery, the stamps, writing a personal note to people and dropping them off in a box or handing them to a cheery Mailman. But I also love getting Christmas cards in the mail and even better, Christmas pictures!! This past Christmas, I covered half of our fridge with pics from family and friends and didn't take them down until June!

Growing up, my sisters and I enjoyed opening the holiday cards. We even had one we looked forward to each year. It was from a family and they sent (no joke) 6 PAGES typed front and back of what they did the past year. Johnny did so well in school this year, he was learning his phonics. Would you like to hear of all the phonics he learned? Enter: all the phonics little Johnny learned. Yeah, I'm not kidding. Then they would ramble on about detailed family vacations with their extended family and those people's spouses, dogs, cousins and teachers. We looked forward to it every year and gathered with friends to read it out loud(horrible, I know). But I do love hearing from people near and far.

Which brings me back to when I was a nanny. Not only did I help raise, discipline, teach and train two little boys, but my other "hats" included: Chauffeur, Chef, Maid, Artist, etc.... so why would it not also include Photographer?!

Christmas 2006: we had the boys sit down outside in the freezing cold. Say, what? Sit down? Boys do not sit down, especially for pictures that HAVE to be cute because they're being sent to 200+ people. The Mom and I did this together, so we bribed them with chocolate (what is in N's mouth) and begged them to sit still for 2 long minutes as we frantically shot away hoping we'd beat the chocolate drool or any inevitable dirt/mud/paint that the boys' clothing attracts. We took a million pictures.... okay maybe 75 and within that, 5 were top contenders.

This first picture clearly wasn't one of them but I can't even begin to tell you how much I love it. Even though it's not a great one, it's one of those pictures that captures the true moments in daily life... how things really were. Forget Olan Mills because this is real. This is how it was.


It really shows their personalities at the time, too. Alec (on the left) was so sweet, a goof ball and has such a passion for life. He was more laid back, however he did have a temper and when it rained for him, it poured.
Nicholas, is the best friend. He is loyal, very smart, thoughtful and bright. He was my friend over the 18 months I was a nanny and we had many great conversations. He is also meticulous, oh so particular and sometimes emotional. But I loved him for it.
















Below is the sweet picture we finally picked for the holiday card. Look at those adorable boys in all of their L.L. Bean-ness! What loves! I hope this picture helps you get excited for the Holiday's because it's probably my favorite Christmas card picture of all time.





Grace

We sang this at church on Sunday, and I've been thinking about the words ever since.



God of Grace

God of grace, amazing wonder,
Irresistible and free;
Oh, the miracle of mercy
Jesus reaches down to me.
God of grace, I stand in wonder,
As my God restores my soul.
His own blood has paid my ransom;
Awesome cost to make me whole.


God of grace, who loved and knew me
Long before the world began;
Sent my Saviour down from heaven;
Perfect God and perfect man.
God of grace, I trust in Jesus;
I'm accepted as His own.
Every day His grace sustains me,
As I lean on Him alone.


God of grace, I stand astounded,
Cleansed, forgiven and secure.
All my fears are now confounded
And my hope is ever sure.
God of grace, now crowned in glory,
Where one day I'll see Your face; And forever I'll adore You
In Your everlasting grace.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm

This is a view from my office building, overlooking the Public Library and Bryant Park skating rink. I walk past this view throughout the day and even though I love my job, I often wish I was skating away on the ice with not a care in the world.

However, I find it quite strange that the leaves are green. This picture was taken last week. It's Fall. They're green. Hmm..
















This is a view from our kitchen window looking out onto the building behind us, mainly the little garden/terrace area. Take a good look.















Um, yeah.

This guy totally creeps me out.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dogs & Desi

Last night my roomies & I got to dogsit little Parker. So cute. I've never been a dog fan but I think that's changing. Miriam and Chris went to a broadway show last night and left their little foster dog in our care. She brought over all of his treats, special blankets and toys. We had fun running around and playing. I hosted Bible Study at my apt last night and Parkie was so cute to sit near me while we talked. He's such a well behaved dog.

After the study, we played for a bit and then watched some tv. Then I was exhausted. I wasn't going to let a dog get in the way of slumber, so I hopped in bed and he came along and snuggled close. It reminded me of when I was a nanny and would watch the boys overnight.

One time D&T peaced out and headed for the Caribbean leaving me with their 2 year old and 9 month old for 5 days. Alone. All alone. I can't even begin to tell you how good it was to see their car service roll in the driveway on their return home.
Usually when they were away on their trips, the boys & I would have the best time and play outside a little longer and giggle a little more... mainly because there was no schedule to stick to. So after dinner we would take baths, read books, snuggle, talk and tell stories. I put them to bed and I then had the whole house to myself. Aaahh.

When D&T were gone, I would sleep in the room right next to Nicholas & Alec's, but before I turned out the lights, I would sneak in and check on the sleeping babes. I love the verse in the Bible where Mary 'treasures up all these things and ponders them in her heart'. That's what I did. My heart holds such sweet memories of tucking them in and just looking these wild & crazy boys who wouldn't sit still for a minute at the restaurant and excercised their toddler two-ness about a million times that day... but now they were warm & snuggly in their beds and so peaceful. I prayed for them and cherished those moments at the end of a busy day.

So I then went to bed and hoped for a long night's sleep. Yeah right, nice try. The baby was up crying a couple times and sometimes Nicholas would call for me. When he got older, he would get out of his bed and come get in with me. So sweet. But as much as I loved it, it's pretty hard to get quality sleep when you have a little 2 year old right next to you who's moving around.

And of course, the boys would want the day to start bright and early at 5:30am. And sometimes it was fun. Fun to hear them talking in their cribs and calling out, "Cawwwwiee" and then the joy on their faces when I came and got them as they were wide awake and ready to play with their trucks and diggers.

I miss them. I miss them alot. I miss bedtimes and the smell of shampooed heads and helping them brush their 4 teeth, how they would always want "one more" book. I even miss those early mornings, their 'sleepy eyes' and making pancakes and how they would smell like syrup for the rest of the day.

I know. I'm being sentimental. But that's what happens when you raise kids (even if they're not your own). You get a free pass at sentimentality and get to share/bored others with it.

But I'll actually end on a funny note (or, at least it's funny now):

It was after dinner one night and I was giving the boys a bath. Alec was too young to just sit in the tub, so he played next to me while Nicholas took a bath. Got Nicholas out of the tub and let him run around in his towel while I gave baby Alec a bath. Took Alec out, drained the water and then to his room. Diaper, lotion, pj's. Not even 2 minutes.

I go back into the bathroom and there is Nicholas covered... covered in Desitin. (Desitin, Desi for short, is the little tooshie paste to help prevent diaper rashes, and the like. It is pure money and essential in raising kids). He had gotten into the tube of Desi and "painted" it all over himself. Now, if you've worked w/ Desi before, you know it prides itself on "stickin to ya". It was so hard to get off and my attempt with a wet washcloth didn't help and made matters worse but I finally got it off him. I did get a good laugh about it. Oh children. The things they do while you're not looking.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America Voted

For Barack Obama.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008

Showdown.

I went to vote early this morning in an attempt to beat the lines, but it just so happened that the rest of the Upper East Siders had the same intention. While waiting in line at the 92nd St. Y (which, I need to visit more often), I chatted with neighbors and found myself to be a tad bit nervous as I was about to cast my ballot for who I think should be the next President of the United States.

You know how the news anchors were talking about the undecided voters. Yeah, that was me. It was a hard decision. I watched the news, read the papers, perused articles, discussed with friends, read books, looked into the issues and everything else.

But I've made my choice. Hooray!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekend fun

Saturday Allison & I went to the theater district to try and win the lottery for All My Sons. We get there and we're too late so we ask for standing room. The show wasn't sold out yet, but the greatest box office guy in the world gave us student price tickets, 2 rows in. $26.50 for two hours of Katie Holmes and a stellar cast... yeah, pretty sweet.













Later that evening, we got dinner at Fetch and then headed back to Rockefeller. We enjoyed all of the election maddness before we got in line with our SNL standby tickets. We waited forever because security was tight w/ Secret Service ppl cause McCain was there. It wasn't until 11:30pm that we found out there were no seats left due to McCain's entourage. Boo! No Ben Affleck for us. :(













Sunday we went to the marathon! I seriously have to run it one year.