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:
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!
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! :)
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!!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.