Friday, June 4, 2010

A Memorable Memorial Weekend

Since my office is always closed the Friday before Memorial Day, Ryan and I decided to take a little roadtrip. We didn't know what we were going to do until we decided on Tuesday morning to drive all over the East and into Canada. Luckily we have flexible enough families that they were cool with us dropping in at the last minute.
Friday morning we got up early and drove to Twinsville (right outside of Cleavland) to visit Ryan's Aunt Tracy (better known as Bubby) and Uncle Mike. We ate dinner in their lovely backyard and went to a single's adult conference (where Mike was presiding) to listen to John Bytheway speak.

The next morning we were also lucky enough to accompany the Bytheways on a personal tour of the Kirtland Temple. The tour guide took us to the upper rooms of the temple where Joseph Smith had had many visions and revelations.
(picture stolen from this website)
We said our goodbyes and drove another 90 minutes to one of the greatest amusement parks in the country: Cedar Point!

It was a beautiful day! And while there were lots of kids there (it was like the high school band day at the park), we still enjoyed ourselves while we played games in line, and especially when going on some of the greatest rides in the world.

You may think I'm exaggerating about Ohio having some of the greatest rides in the world, but before you do, let me say this. We went so high and so fast on some of these rides that when we finished two of the rides my shirt had unbuttoned.

Did you hear that? My shirt came unbuttoned. Not once, but twice.

Even Superman himself can't do that.
(Though I'm just assuming that he probably wouldn't because he's not a creep...but you see my point.)
When the rides shut down, we drove on to Northville (right outside of Detroit) and visited my brother Mark and his wife, Shannon and their six kids.

We had one of the funnest days playing hide-and-seek with the kids, running around their backyard, playing freeze tag in the basement, walking around the Detroit waterfront, and just catching up.

While Mark & Shannon came to our wedding last summer, it's been nearly a year since I've seen their kids and they are cuter than ever. Would you look at these faces? How could you resist them?

Monday morning we got up early and drove to Niagara Falls where we met up with some photards (i.e. strangers who are not good at taking pictures).
Here you can see that we are at Niagara Falls...

oh, you can't see the falls? It's the photard's fault.

After doing a lot of racial profiling we gave up trying to determine which ethnicity takes the best pictures, and just took some of our own.

We walked around the falls area, got our fortunes told, and then rode the Maid of the Mist (which was a highlight as you can see),

before jumping in the car and driving back to Manhattan where we arrived at about midnight on Monday night.

Phew. It was kind of a whirl wind, but I'd do it again.

I love road trips! Especially with Ryan.

And with our new travel companion, Gypsy (the GPS that we bought off of Craigslist before our trek).

Stats about our roadtrip:
Miles Traveled: 1406
Hours in the car: 26
Top MPH on a Roller Coaster: 120 MPH
Longest wait for a Roller Coaster: 1 1/2 hrs. (but it was the Maverick. It's the greatest ride in the world. We couldn't resist)
Car food consumed: Grapes (3 bunches), Yogurts (3),  Strawberries (2 pints), Wheat thins (2 boxes), Clementines (1 bag), Bananas (2), Orange Juice (2 liters), Nectarines (2), Apple (1), French bread (1), Ciabatta loaf (1), Cheese (more than I'm willing to admit).
Memorable things found in gas stations: An LDS book rack (in Pennsylvania), ketchup and fry flavored chips (in Ohio), and tour buses full of tourists from India (everywhere).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Break

Since my "real life" job doesn't give a week for spring break (boo!), I decided to take matters into my own hands and take some time off work to enjoy the lovely spring flowers
(pictures by my talented husband, Ryan)

and take a wee jaunt to DC to meet up with Taylor, Ryan's Sister, and her husband Todd
(incidentally, we found some other DC Wheelers, pictured here) (Sorry I can't remember your name, Aubrey, or whoever you are. Luckily you probably don't remember mine either, so we're even?)

to spend time with my awesome in-laws, Kim & John, to enjoy the spring weather in New York City,to ride my bike, and to enjoy the extra time with Ryan.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Easter in New Yolk City

Easter was one of the most beautiful days that we've had all year. If we weren't in the church trying to soak up everything said at general conference we were outside trying to soak up the amazing weather.Early Sunday morning we dressed in our Easter outfits and went to the Easter Bonnet Parade on 5th avenue. New York's Easter bonnet parade gives the best evidence that Easter brings all types of people together:
1-The Classy Upper East Siders, 2-Families 3-The church-going women up in Harlem, 4-And the crazies. We should be the poster children for this event because somehow or another, we seem to fit into all four categories.
We took hundreds of pictures of hats and had a few taken of us too.
(Some of our favorite Easter Hats)After parading around for a bit we ran across the park and made it to conference just before it started.After the first session of conference, we raced up to Central Parkto meet up with Candice & Jordan Wheeler and Hank & Stacy Toone to play a little game of croquet.

Candice, a self proclaimed croquet champion, was not happy with Jordan's win...

but they did seem to make up once we started taking glamor shots in the flowers.

We call this "The Toones Shotgun wedding engagement photo"

After the photo session, we walked around the park and ran back up to church to catch the second Sunday session.
After conference we had a little visit from the Easter Bunny i.e. Melissa & Davis.

Davis was kind enough to wear the bunny ears all during dinner which added to our springy decor.Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

KIMBIRTHDEY (the big 3-0)

For the record, Let me just say that I'm happy about being 30. People keep saying to me:
"Oh, that's a BIG one!"
"Oh boy, you're SO old."
"Ugh are you depressed?"
Or other like statements to jab me or to commiserate with me.

But in any case, let me say again: I'm excited about my 30's.

Well...glad you asked:
1-Saying that I'm 30 makes me feel like a legitimate adult (something that my maturity level has never let me feel)
2-If I'm ever going to have's going to have to be in my 30's
3-I imagine that if I ever have any type of career it will also be in my 30's
4-And most importantly, if I say I want to go to bed at 9:00 p.m. I feel like that's fine. I'm no longer a 20 year-old trying to pass for a teenager. I'm a mature woman and I'm looking forward to MORE SLEEP (oh, unless that whole baby or career thing works out for me).

So take that 20's. I'm so over you. Literally, because
I'm 30

What is also awesome about turning a year older (specifically this year) is that I have a sweet husband who did everything, besides turning back the clocks, to try and ease me through this transition. He did what he does best: Made the whole weekend a celebration.


When I came home from work on Friday, Ryan had brightened up our apartment by putting roses all over the apartment and also helping our little white trees to bud.He also physically brightened it by making this sign for me
On Saturday, we followed what is now our favorite birthday tradition (see here and here). We spent the whole day trying to accomplish 30 acts of service.

The 30 Acts:
1-Passed out 30 roses2-Filled phone booths with change
3-Left 30 random notes around the city
4-Picked up 30 pieces of garbage
5-Talked to an old man, named Herb, that I happened to serve last year.
Last year he was feeding the birds by the cathedral so we thought it was pretty exciting to run into him again. 6-Gave bread to a homeless man
7-Gave directions to tourists
8-Hid 30 Easter Eggs in various locations around the city9-Handed out 30 balloons to 30 kids10-Took treats to the Saturday temple workers
11-Helped some tourists take pictures together in the park
12-Doubled a couples odds at the Wicked lottery
13-Carried strollers down the subway stairs
14-Handed out candy on the subway
15-Lifted luggage up the subway stairs
16-Gave out free subway swipes
17-Bought someone popcorn at the movies
18-Brought hot chocolate to a street vendor that seemed really cold (it was FREEZING outside that night)
19-Gave directions to a group of teenagers who were lost in the city
20-Took a man named Rowland to get a Grey's Papaya
21-Bought chicken McNuggets for a man who called himself 007
22-Called Ryan's Grandma (who just got out of surgery)
23-Bought a lamb & rice dinner for a beggar named Calvin
24-Gave directions to Tourists
25-Gave out 30 dollar bills to different musicians and beggars around the city
26-Took a man, named Hutch, to dinner
27-Lifted a super heavy stroller down the stairs
28-Said "Hi" to 30 people
29-Donated money to "This American Life"
30-Donated money to "New York Cares"

It was a really fun and tiring day. I realize that maybe none of these acts of service were that meaningful to anyone, balloons deflate, McDonald's meals are forgettable, but the whole day meant a lot to me and I feel so lucky to have spent it that way.

Each time we've done this day of service I feel too inadequate to sum it up. But since I'm putting it up here anyway, I just can't help but say a few things.

Most importantly the reason it's such a good day is because it always reminds me that service can be SO small.
A smile.
Holding the door open for someone.
Being nice to a stranger.
Sometimes I forget that to affect the server and/or the served, it doesn't have to kill anyone.

Also, I believe that giving things on a larger scale (or better said, a more difficult scale) reaps huge rewards. When it hurts to give (again, not killing you...but maybe just pinching you), your joy will be immense.

I would assume that most people reading this are much nicer people that I am (because I think I know most of you) so I'll stop raving about things that you already know or already do. But if I can add anything else it's just that whether you serve often or not there are so many ways that we can and should serve and no matter what, you'll feel so much happier once you've given something more. Don't let yourself miss those opportunities.

Lastly, if you want any incentive to do something, here are two things I've been thinking about since Saturday:

This quote from CS Lewis
President Monson's talk from last October General Conference

(My Birthday)
Sunday I woke up to Ryan bringing me breakfast in bed. It was Fast Sunday, so there wasn't much on my plate.
We went to church and I taught sharing time while Ryan taught singing time in primary. I had a meeting after church and when I finished, Ryan picked me up at the chapel in our friend's car and took me to Coney Island (one of my favorite places).

We came home and Ryan cooked me a Thai peanut stir fry dinner (so delicious). We ate and relaxed, but only for a few minutes because we had another Sunday drive to go on. We drove up to Westchester to pick up Ryan's birthday present to me (a bike. Yeah!!!)(How adorable is that? Huh? Wait until you see me on it. The 30's have never looked so cute.)

We came back to New York, went for a bike ride, and then came home and had some of the delicious mango pie that Ryan made for me earlier that morning while I was sleeping (is there anything he can't do?).Besides having a great husband to celebrate with, I have two sisters 2,000 miles away who were trying to help me feel their love by texting me all day (30 in total) with their favorite memories of me, sending me videos of the whole family singing happy birthday, and shipping an awesome birthday present full of 30 things that they love about me.

So, while I we ate pie, I opened all 30 of their little packages of love and talked to my family.It was a wonderful weekend.
See why I'm so happy about this 30 thing?