New York City!

Hey, we went to NYC last weekend!  Have you heard?  :)  Some Syracuse friends were getting together in NYC for a wedding of an acquaintance (we weren’t invited to the wedding, but it was black-tie and not something I’d want to go to anyway!) and my friend Lauren texted me a few weeks ago to see if we wanted to meet up for dinner.  With some quick logistics and a super helpful Aunt Rosy, we were able to pull it off.  :)  I rented an apartment through HomeAway, big enough for us and Rosy.  We drove down Friday morning.  The trip took longer than expected because the AC gave out in our car half way there, which necessitated multiple stops at Starbucks to cool off.

The kids read books, played games, and didn’t even bicker (very much). It was a nice trip.

Friday night we went out to dinner with friends (some in for the wedding and others there just for dinner), then we all went to a show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and  out to a karaoke bar.  There may have been some drinks involved.  It was a ton of fun to catch up with old friends.  I wish we could do it more often!  I love how this group of friends just falls so easily back into sync.

Seven SU friends and a few spouses added in. :) It was a great night!

Saturday morning Alan took the kids to a nearby diner while Rosy and I had a leisurely wake up.  Yay!  Then we all went out for second breakfast (ha!) and down to explore the USS Intrepid.

Rosy patiently entertained the kids while Alan and I figured out the tickets.  Do you see the moon in the picture?  It was much more noticeable and impressive in real life.

Alan explaining something about something. This was definitely more his wheelhouse than mine! :)

It was a quick trip because we had tickets to the 2pm showing of Puffs, an off-Broadway show that’s “a new look at a familiar adventure from the perspective of three potential heroes just trying to make it through a magic school that proves to be very dangerous for children.”  The show was HILARIOUS and I even stayed awake for most of it!  :)

A great show! I would definitely recommend it if you find yourself in NYC or Australia.

Then we met Mark for dinner and an evening full of games and food and fun.

I had some delicious food on this trip! I totally gave up on WW, but enjoyed every bite and sip.

Things get interesting (aka awkward) when your hubby and college buddy start reliving the good old days while sitting next to your teenage (eek!) son. There were definitely a few moments that I brushed over quickly!

Sunday was departure day, but Lex wanted to check out the Lego store in Rockefeller Center first.  Alan took Lex to the diner for breakfast, and Rosy took Eve to a bagel shop, and I had another leisurely morning. :)  Then Rosy, Lex, and I took the subway uptown to Rockefeller Center while Alan and Eve took care of picking up our car from Toyota of Manhattan.  We payed a small fortune for it, but the AC worked again!

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

We need more photos of Rosy and Lex together. :)

The “ear” statue we remember so well from our last trip to NYC has been replaced with this interesting piece of work.

Lex says Rosy and I look a lot alike. Somehow she always looks better in photos though! :/

I love the pattern on this building!

Alan and Eve picked us up, we dropped Rosy off at her car, and the Johnson family headed home.  Somehow it took us forever to get home, but that’s ok.  We stopped for lunch, stopped for multiple Starbucks breaks, and I dunno, jut took awhile.  We made it though and LOVED our vacation!!

If you want to see all the photos, check out the Google Photos album.

Flying high and diving deep


Waffles for breakfast, again. 

This weather is just not cooperating with our plans this trip. Or with our visitors’ plans, I suppose. We headed to SkyZone today for some high-flying fun.

The plan was for Julie and her girls to come up and spend the day with us, but the weather did not cooperate and she didn’t make it, so we were on our own. Turns out that was maybe for the best. Things are SkyZone were crazy!! We didn’t pre-buy tickets, despite the website strongly encouraging us to do so, and so when we got there they were pretty full up. We were hoping to stay for a few hours, but there were only a few time slots available. We got the kids tickets to jump from 10:30-11:00am while Alan and I watched. The place was a bit overwhelming at first and the ticket lady said grownups had to jump on the other side of the room from kids and I wasn’t sure what that exactly looked like, so I decided to let the kids jump first. Turns out “the other side of the room” was really just not that far away.


Trampolines everywhere! Do you see the kids way in the back?



At 11am we left SkyZone and went to the Olive Garden for lunch. YUMMY!!! Before leaving SkyZone we purchased tickets for all four of us to jump from 12:30-1:00pm. I wanted to do longer, but again, there was limited time available. So we had lunch then came back. This second time was soooo much better… because I jumped too! As a grownup watching the place is boring, loud, and chaotic. But as a jumper jumping, OMG it is so much fun!!! You can go so high and do all sorts of fun tricks. I wasn’t brave enough for flips and somersaults, but other people were. Lex mastered the “jumping off the wall” trick and Alan worked on getting as high in the air as possible. So much fun!!!

After half an hour we were all hot and sweaty. I could have stayed longer, but our time was up and everyone was exhausted so it was a good time to head back to the hotel… for swimming! What better way to cool down. I didn’t get any pictures in the pool because I was swimming too, but I really wished I had an underwater camera. There are skylights in the pool area and the sunshine coming in made everything really beautiful. It would have been a great day for swimming pictures. Oh well. By 3:00 we were all worn out and hungry, so we headed back upstairs. It’s a good vacation when everyone is showered and in PJs by 4pm, right?! :)


Vacation leftovers! Pizza from the hotel, various options from Cheesecake Factory, pasta from the OG, and carrots so we can pretend we’re eating healthy on vacation. I know what’s for dinner tonight!

A day at the mall

The day finally arrived!  Our big trip to Destiny USA!  We had a little time to kill in the morning so Eve took a swim.


A pre-mall swim.


At the mall.  First things first, the ropes course!  The moment Lex has been eagerly awaiting for the last five months!


Harnesses on!



Here they go!



Turns out it was a little scary! Look at that serious face!


While Lex and Alan did the ropes course, Eve and I went to Build-A-Bear, the thing Eve has been eagerly awaiting.  She saved up all her money to buy this bear and some clothes.


Stuffing the new bear.



They had a whole rack of Girl Scout clothes you could buy for your bear, including GS undies! I was amused, but we didn’t buy any.



Eve and Chocolate, her new teddy bear.

Rosy joined us at this point and we headed back to the ropes course to check on Alan and Lex.  They were having a blast!!



Having fun.



Such concentration! This one had no railings, just the tether to hang on to.



So high!!



This one made Alan say “whee!” The beams swayed as he walked over them!



These boys survived the ropes course!! And LOVED it!

We had lunch at the food court, then headed for the carousel.



Fun on the ponies.

Then right back upstairs for the Mirror Maze.  We went through a bunch of times and loved every time.  The place makes me laugh and smile the whole time.  It was crowded this time, which introduces a new kind of fun to the experience.



Selfie in the Mirror Maze.







This is what Alan has been eagerly awaiting!  Pole Position!  He raced hard and was #1 in best lap time!  They gave him a little award certificate and all.  He LOVED it!  :)



Alan is in car #18.



Coming around the corner.

After Pole Position we headed downstairs for glow in the dark mini-golf.  It was an interesting experience and a tough course!



Lex putting.  It was pretty dark in there!



Eve putting. She had the best shirt for black light fun! :)

By this time we were all really tired, so we headed to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  Dinner was delicious, of course, and we were sure to save room for dessert!



I think this is the first time the kids have had cheesecake. Lex was slightly hesitant, but that piece was full of candy so he overcame his fear and dug in. If only everything new came coated in candy! :)



After dinner and dessert we did a little of this. Well, they did. There rest of us steeled ourselves for the cold air and drive home.




Goodbye Aunt Rosy! Thanks for spending the day at the mall with us! :)



Back at the hotel this was about all we could manage.


Now it is late and the morning will come early. It always does in a hotel. I am off to bed! Tomorrow is another busy day.

A drive to Syracuse

We drove to Syracuse yesterday.  Everyone else was heading to warmer weather for vacation, but not us!  This is what our vacation trip looked like…


Crazy winter icicles at a rest area on the thruway.



The Erie Canal, buried in snow!



Evening is when it really got fun. By the time we got to Syracuse it was total blizzard conditions! We were very happy to finally be off the road!


And then, once we got to the hotel, it looked more like this…


Hello Merlot.



The kids wanted to sit at their own table so we decided to have a Valentine’s Day dinner on our own. :) Very romantic! Syracuse v. Duke on the screen. It was a good game, but sadly SU lost.



Watching the end of the game. Alan was happy to be off the road and on the couch!


That’s how this family likes to spend Valentine’s Day and the first day of vacation!

Good times in Orange town!

We had an awesome weekend in Syracuse! After all the planning (done mostly by others, thankfully!) the weekend finally arrived and we were off. Friday, our travel day, was beautiful. Saturday, our campus tour and park day, was a rainy mess. Then Sunday, another travel day, was beautiful again.

I posted all of my pictures in a Google album, but I’ll add a few here as well.

We packed Friday morning and headed to Syracuse. When we arrived at the hotel we had a few minutes to hang out with friends who were already there, then we headed out to a SU football game. We watched the Orange get crushed by the Louisville Cardinals. We also dropped a small fortune on “dinner” at the Dome, consisting of soft pretzels, nachos, popcorn, and ice cream. Alan had a Dome Dog too. Sounds like a nice healthy meal, right?! All bets are off when it comes to vacation food! :)


We went with Mark and his daughter Victoria, and Amy and her son Andrew. Plus apparently a grumpy guy in the back. :)


The Johnsons go to a football game. Go Orange!

Mark and Amy left at half-time, but we made it almost to the end. If the game had been any good we would have stayed for the whole thing, but since Syracuse was getting a beating we decided to be fair-weather fans and high-tail it out of there before the storm and the crowds! And the storm did come.

Saturday we had planned a lovely day of touring the campus, lunch and shopping on M-Street, and then an afternoon at the park. Unfortunately the weather had different plans! We rallied and dragged our spouses and children through a typical day in Syracuse. We figured it would be best to give them the true look at Syracuse. :) Seriously though, we actually had a pretty good time, despite the rain and a few grumpy children (mine!).


The kids (L-R) Greg (Mark’s step son), Andrew (Amy’s), Devorah (Ron and Laura’s), Joe (Mike’s), Cassandra (Ron and Laura’s), Victoria (Mark’s), Lex and Eve, Andy and Bethany (Ron and Laura’s), Lucas (Mike’s)


The grown-ups (L-R) Mark and Barbara, Amy, Andrea and Mike, me and Alan, Ron and Laura

After our walking tour we took our soggy selves to The Varsity for lunch and a little shopping. Then we headed back to the hotel where Jim and Julie met us for an afternoon in the pool. They aren’t technically SU alum, but they knew most of us and they live so close we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit!

We swam…

we snuggled…
kate and me

we played games…

and then we said goodbyes.
goodbye girls

Then the Kirkwoods had to leave and the rest of us moseyed into the fancy banquet room we rented for the evening. The hotel catered a delicious meal for us and we spent the rest of the evening hanging out, eating, drinking, playing games, and enjoying each others company after so many years apart.

girls and games

me and amy

wrestling boys

eve and mark

It was so nice just hanging out, getting to know each other’s spouses and children better, letting the kids play together, etc. Just what we wanted for that evening!

The next day we woke bright and early. NOT! The kids actually slept until 8am!! A new record in our family, I think. We met a few friends for breakfast before saying goodbye and heading our separate ways. Alan and I decided to take the kids to the mall, after hearing rumors that it has grown a bit since our time. Boy, has it!! They now call it Destiny USA instead of the Carousel Mall. It still has the carousel, but it also has sooo much more! I can’t even imagine that place on a Friday night. If they had a hotel a person could feasibly live their entire life in the mall.

glass elevator

mirror maze


There was so much more we wanted to do at the mall, especially a really amazing looking indoor ropes course that Lex was eager to try. Unfortunately they said it typically takes a least an hour and we just didn’t have the time. Lex was very disappointed and we immediately started making plans to come back! Destiny USA, we will return!!

After leaving the mall, and before heading home, we went back to M-Street to exchange a pair of pants Alan had bought the day before. While we were there we did a little more shopping and a quick trip the Syracuse Bookstore, just for fun.


One final family photo and then we were off – heading home with a very tired crew. The return trip seemed to take forever, perhaps because everyone was was tired but no one slept, or perhaps because we stopped frequently for drinks and bathrooms. Finally we got home around 8pm, rushed the unpack, and went right to bed!

It was a great trip! I hope it doesn’t take another 15 years before we can get the crew together again. I think we’ll be back in Syracuse this February though. Anyone want to join us?!?

In the meantime, you can check out all of the pictures, with captions, in the Google album.

Happy Anniversary!

I realize this is a week late. I wanted to write a nice Happy Anniversary post, but on our actual 10 year anniversary I was in a less than celebratory mood. However, I do want to write the post.

Last Tuesday Alan and I celebrated our 10th anniversary and my parents celebrated their 30th! Happy Anniversary!! Marriage is such a complex thing, it truly feels like an accomplishment to be together, and happy!, after 10+ years and still wanting more. I have lots of deep, sappy thoughts flitting through my head but sadly I’m not eloquent enough to capture them. Sigh. So instead I will say thank you to my parents for modeling a strong marriage, through the good and the bad, and to my husband for standing by my side. Always. I am a very fortunate woman to have such love and strength all around me. Happy Anniversary and here’s to many, many more!!

Me and Alan

A goofy picture on a super windy day at Syracuse University... where it all began!

Mom and Dad

My lovely parents after a busy weekend chasing the kids. Thank you!!!!

A mini-vacation

To celebrate our anniversary, Alan and I took the kids to Franklin and then left them! We left the kids with Mema and Grandpa Tom and headed to Syracuse, our old stomping grounds. It was fun. The weather was crazy, of course, but we got a nice break of sunshine for a few hours for us to explore the campus. Syracuse University is a mass of old and new buildings all mixed together. It was fun. Then we hit the mall and after an hour or so we decided that was enough mall for us for the next few years :) It was great. Rumor has it the kids and grandparents had fun too. Yay! Here are a few pictures…

Bye bye kids

Saying goodbye. They were happy, really.

Newhouse III

Newhouse III - built after we graduated.

Syracuse University

Syracuse University

Hot wings

Hot wings from Cosmos. This is one happy man!

Bag of crocs

Bag of crocs. We got three pair for $4 each! One for each of the kids and one for a friend whose dad is also an SU alum.