Macy's Freezing Thanksgiving Day Parade

One of the very first things I thought of when I knew Kyle and I would be living out here on the east coast was #1, the fact that we would be 4 hours from New York City and #2, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade happens every Thanksgiving in New York City. So we decided our first Thanksgiving out here we would take a trip up to the big apple and experience the parade firsthand. Although it was so cold the whole time we were there (I had at least three layers on every day) it was neat to see the city over the holiday season! 

Our grand 4 hour bus ride into the city (which actually wasn't that bad considering how close we are to New free Wi-Fi and a warm seat next to my favorite person ever...couldn't complain.

Times Square! No matter how many times I've been (okay this was #2) the excitement is still there! Kyle even let us spend some time in the Disney store (maybe because it was warm...).

The next morning, we got up at 5:00 a.m. to grab what we thought was a coveted spot for the parade. I was so shocked when we got outside to see that the streets were ALREADY lined with people. We luckily found a little place in front of a bush that we propped our iPod showing 'It's A Wonderful Life" on and our hot chocolate to wait the morning out....Thanksgiving seemed like it was going to be a beautiful warm day with the look of the sun hitting the buildings. Little did we realize however....

It would be one of the coldest days I can remember! I had two pairs of tights on, my jeans, 4 sweaters and this coat, gloves and scarves all over the place. Kyle was wearing his big vest under his coat. Yes...the parade was fun but was far overshadowed by the lack of feeling in my fingers and toes. By the time Santa came around, I had made my way into a bank close by where Kyle met me soon after. We walked back to our hotel and managed to warm up a tiny bit in the shower. Then we were off to our Thanksgiving meal! 

I was a little nervous about having Thanksgiving out at a restaurant because I've always been with family (aside from my mission) but it was a really charming place. The Ellington on the upper west side of Central Park had few people in it and delivered a very good meal with all the fixins' including dessert. It was also kind of fun with Kyle and I's first Thanksgiving to have it with just the two of us. 

After dinner, we made our way over by Central Park, looked at some of the big Christmas trees in the Plaza Hotel and wandered around the FAO Schwartz toy store (basically we were happy to go inside whenever we possible could!). Even the jogger is struggling in the picture above...but that's not why I shot the photo...rather to get the ginormous tree on the Plaza's side entrance - pretty!

A little before this point, when we were eating dinner in fact, Kyle said he wasn't feeling very good and I noticed he had a fever :( We wanted to head back to the hotel pretty soon to get warmed up so we both weren't exhausted the rest of the trip, but first we had heard it was a definite must to stop at Magnolia Bakery. Even the inside was decorated lovely and in addition to a lemon square and Kyle's peanut butter toffee square, we got the infamous......

Banana Pudding!! I still dream about this every now and then. 

Ginormous red ornaments across the street from Rockefeller Plaza. At this point, we had probably walked over three miles and I had gotten a brand new Ghiradelli Hot Chocolate knocked right out of my hands by a bustling New was time to go home. That and Kyle's fever wasn't having it. We shuffled our way to the subway and got to bed at....get this...8:00 p.m.! The earliest I had gone to bed in probably a decade. 

The next day was MUCH better. After 12 hours of sleep, we were recharged and ready to go. This is on the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty - although we seem reawakened, it was still so cold especially out on the water! 

Kyle grabbing his stamp on Ellis Island - My great-great grandmother, Anna Forstram, joined the church and came here from Sweden with her son Emmanuel, who's name was later changed to Jack when they got to America - even though their database was down, it was still cool to think about them coming to Ellis Island and having the courage to begin their lives with a new religion in a new land. 

I shot a picture of this small adorable church and side home stickin' strong to it's spot while sky scrapers overshadow it above. Some things have the power to remain unique and original.

After we made our way to the World Trade Center Memorial and had probably logged over 5 miles, we were a bit hungry. We had heard a reference of a New York pizza place that was a 'do not miss' and at $2 a slice, we should have bought 2 boxes to take along with us. It might have been that we were freezing, exhausted and in need of food...but this is one of the best pizza places I've ever been to...a hole in the wall....but best tasting pizzas ever! and my cute husband modeling is always a plus.

The hubs came along with me to a Broadway play :) and not just a Broadway play, but a little girl princess Broadway play (thanks Kyle) - Cinderella! First time every being on stage (it's only been on screen). It wasn't at Wicked or Les Miserables caliber, but still a play with live orchestra. Happy to be at the theataaaa.

It's okay Kyle came along though because I got him his own 'World's Largest Hershey's Bar' at the Hershey store :) We really didn't buy this, although we wanted to. We tried to get photos with the giant Hershey's syrup bottles behind Kyle's head but right when Kyle had snagged one, an employee ran over, asked us where we got that, then got mad at us and said they are up high for a reason! Who knew they had all those syrups up there just for display?

The last morning we went to the temple :) so pretty and nice to be away from all the hustle and noise of the city. It got a tiny bit warmer this day, although the wind would still bite at our noses. 

Kyle insisted we go to the Met after we rode bikes around central park and I was not opposed! I didn't realize how ginormous it was and all the different pieces of art, furniture, sculptures, etc. there would be. I could spend a whole day in there! I captured a picture of this sunset as we were going inside. It almost doesn't look real, but more like a painting. Magical. 

That was our trip! So fun to see the beginning of Christmas in New York City. I want to go back while we are out here on the east coast but preferably during the spring or fall! :) Thanks Big Apple for the fun! 

Happy Birthday Kyle!

I love birthdays! Yes, I love my own birthday,but I love celebrating anyone's birthday! The cake and candles...presents and new things...the excitement of another year older...just all of it! I was excited to celebrate Kyle's birthday and make a cake that he had been wanting me to try. Let's just say, this is a cake that is going to stay in our family for generations to come...our future grandkids will probably think I came up with it all on my own when Kyle just ran across it on the internet. Nevertheless...we are making it at least once every fall and enjoying every piece of it.

I didn't have work the Monday before Kyle's birthday (Yay federal holidays!) so I stayed home during the day and made a yummy chicken casserole, homemade rolls, this birthday banner and his yummy cake in the background that I'll get to in a second! 

Yes, I got him numbered candles and sang to him, just the two of us in our apartment. Yay newlyweds.

Here is said cake. Isn't it beautiful? It's a Pumpkin Spice Dream Cake with Maple Frosting. What really does the trick with this cake is letting it sit in the fridge for a while before serving...that gives it a chance for the frosting to crystalize and the cake to get a bit moist making each bite dense and extra flavorful. We will have this for years to come, I'm sure of it. 

We also celebrated at one of our favorite Georgetown spots, Pizza Paradiso. This was a sausage and red onion sort of paradise. 

I came up with a scavenger hunt for this boy a while back and he did pretty well. We jumped from a mural in the National Archives to President Lincoln's hat in the American History Museum to the White House, ending at the Spy Museum which was an adventure alone. 

International Spy Museum. Probably not worth the money for entering, but good for a one time visit. They had everything from ways to hide information in clothing to actual spy gadgets that have been used. They had a floor that was dedicated to spy movies alone which was fun to look at. 

And here I am. I look like a Disney gopher. They had a vent you could crawl through and Kyle grabbed this gem of a picture on my way out. It was a fun day and great way to celebrate 29 years of life (in my opinion). Happy Birthday Kyle! So happy you are in my life and that we get to celebrate many more of these to come! 

A Little James Bond Kyle Action.


Kyle and I were able to head up to Philadelphia. It was a short trip but that is something I love about living back east! There are so many neat places to visit that aren't too far away. Before our trip, I received a cute note in my lunch the day after Halloween with a skeleton sucker and a spanish note about making Dia De Los Muertos Cookies! I love my notes from Kyle :) I wasn't sure how we were going to make them seeing that they are skeletons with bright colors, but I think we did a pretty good job. New tradition!

Galletas! Delicioso! 

Sketchy part of town Philly! 

We had to get the infamous Philly Cheese Steak

There were two famous places to grab your cheesesteak, Pat's and Geno's. And yes, we got both. I liked Pat's better because it had a softer bun...but hard to tell favorites after eating two huge cheesy sandwiches.

Good ol' Ben's Grave. It was seven years good luck to throw a penny on there. There was a girl next to us who threw her penny about four different times and each time, it would roll off the grave. It was a sight to see ha ha we were laughing thinking she had earned 28 years of bad luck from that one. 

Independence Hall! It was cold again with that East Coast humidity. 

Liberty Bell! 

My one, true love in the Reading Market, a huge farmers/vendors market with all types of food and yummies. 

Sample testing of authentic flavored oil/vinegar by tap - It was hard not to buy one with a white peach and cranberry pear flavors 

Loved my tour guide. 

Happy Birthplace 'Merica!