May 30, 2014

1st Grade

Well, my kid managed to survive the 1st grade. And with flying colors! To the tune of all A's.

I've watched her grow so much this year.  She might have (ok not might, does) her moments with me but when she's at school, she's kind and respectful and such a sweet and helpful kid.  Her teachers this year gave her high praise.


I cannot be more proud.  Especially after the struggles of kindergarten.  It turns out, she just needed the right person to keep her busy and interested yet on track with discipline.  Her teacher and assistant kept her in line and kept her so motivated.

I'm not sad this year is over (hello summer and NO homework fights!) but I am sad that she will be leaving them and moving on to 2nd grade.

She got an award for having all A's this semester, which means all A's for the year, and she reached the 30 point club for AR.  She was also the highest point person for AR in her homeroom, which meant she got a medal.  I think she was the most proud of that!

She also had a great role model to look up to this year.  Her class paired with a 5th grade class as 'Buddies' (for her, her 5th grade buddy).  Her name is Madison and I've known her Mom for years.  I went to school with her.  From elementary to high school.  They went to the YMCA together last summer so they knew each other but over the year, they have formed such a sweet friendship.  I'm so glad she has someone like Madison to look up to. She is the picture of grace and kindness and respect.  I absolutely loved this program.

While on the subject of school, if you saw my FB post earlier, you saw me announce that our school, along with another in our district, were chosen as Lighthouse schools.  Both have been doing the Leader In Me program for 2 years.  As you can see from the map here, there are only 88 Lighthouse schools across the world (not just the US) and we have 2 right here in my hometown.  Plus, we are the only 2 in the state of MS!  Who can say that?  I'm so honored!  And thankful I live in a city that cares so much about their children's education.

So, now I welcome summer (ok maybe not the oppressive heat)! We have camps, Bible school and plenty of fun stuff planned.  Bring it on!!

May 20, 2014

New York City - The Last Day

After not getting back to the hotel until WAY after midnight Saturday night (we made another pit stop at Times Square to try on sunglasses for fun), my roommate and I stayed up even later talking about it all.  The trip of a lifetime.

Oh, and side note here.  We stayed in the same hotel at the Iowa State basketball team, who was in town for the NCAA tourney.  They played Sat. night and had a pep rally in our lobby before they all marched down to Madison Square Garden.

We ran into some parents in the elevator when we got back from Sardi's.  We had heard they lost so we said congrats on a great season even though we knew they were sad about the loss. They were gracious in defeat but knew they'd had a great season.

Ok, back to the story.  After staying up until 2 am and knowing we weren't leaving our hotel until 10 or so for the airport, I decided that was plenty of time to mark a few more things off my bucket list!  Most people in our group were planning to sleep in and then pack up.

ME? HECK NO, I'm in NYC, sleeping can wait!

I got up at 6 am and got showered and dressed.  I left our hotel a little after 7 am.  I was going to The Today Show.  I luckily had one other lady that wanted to go with me.  I was planning to go by myself if not.  Nobody was going to mug me or anything at that time of day because NOBODY is awake in NYC before 8 am.

We arrived at Rockefeller Center about 7:20 thinking the show was already in progress. STUPID me was thinking it was on from 7 am to 8 am but that's only CST.  They don't start until 8 am EASTERN time. I know, I am blonde.

This is what we saw when we got there.  NOTHING.

We even had to ask the security guys where we were supposed to go.  Just a tidbit if you ever go!  You go behind the other building across the street. There is a NYC what I call ice cream type experience truck.  He served free breakfast and coffee and umbrellas and gloves, etc.  Well, it wasn't free. But, you just had to give a donation for cancer research as the guy in the truck was a cancer survivor.

About 7:35 or so, they let us on the Plaza. They have a place for you to sign in and make your own signs.  At this point it was cold and still a little rainy but we managed.  

Then a producer or stage person came out about 7:45 and gave us instructions.  A lot of what you see with people on the Plaza is prerecorded just before the show is live.  I was a little disappointed in that but I guess I should have expected that.

My friend Penny, who is as country as they come, was on the opening monologue!  She said Hello to everyone in Vicksburg, MS!  Luckily, we had called our families just before to tell them to watch.  

We met some super nice people.  A couple from Ohio celebrating their 1st anniversary.  Another couple from VA celebrating her birthday.  I was standing by her when they showed her saying, "It's my birthday and I'm spending with with The Today Show!"

We also met some nice ladies from MSU. Not MY MSU but Michigan State University.  They were also there for basketball.  And, if you followed anything about college basketball this year, you might have heard the story about the relationship between an MSU player and 'Princess Lacey' who was a pediatric cancer patient.  She was actually on the show that morning.  It was so fun to watch.  Too bad we came home and I read where she passed away on April 8, just a little over a week after we saw her.  Cancer stinks.

They also told us to tweet our pictures using a hashtag and they would put it on their scroll on the building.  

That's Princess Lacey in the picture beside us!

Y'all!  I'm a total dork when it comes to The Today Show.  I've watched it for years but since I've head kids, I don't get to watch it as much. I watch it more on the weekends now.  I feel like I know everything about the 4 hosts on the Sunday show.  Erica, Jenna, Lester, and Dylan.  Yep, my BFFs. 

Totally kidding.  I wish they were.  I kept hoping they would come outside but only Dylan did, to do the weather.  She talked to me!  She was so nice and so pretty!

The crew inside.

Since my buddy Matt isn't on the weekend team, I decided to stop by and see him.  Even if he wasn't real.  So what?

After it was over, it was safe to say I could mark that one off the list!

On the way back to the hotel, I snapped this one.  You could actually see this from our hotel!

After we got back to the hotel, we went to grab some breakfast.  Most of our crew was just getting up and getting going.  

I hit few touristy type shops along the way for shirts and presents for my kids.

The only other thing I didn't get marked off my bucket list this day was running in Central Park.  That will be a dream for another day.

All in all, it was a jam packed amazing weekend.  It was the trip of a lifetime as I came home with money.  You really learn a lot about your coworkers when you travel with them.  They might whine and complain, but when it comes to a life crisis, you want them all in your corner.  We bonded on a new level at the airport as one of our newest employees had a panic attack/dehydrated/seizure episode and had to be cleared before she could fly back home with us.  It was scary but it was nice to see how quickly we all reacted.

I can honestly say that I love the company i work for. These trips of a lifetime would not be possible without owners who care about their employees.

Now I've had alike 4 posts or so in 4 days.  Don't expect much for another month. Maybe I'll surprise you. I have missed it.  But I just don't have the time right now. Maybe this summer when I don't have to worry about homework and super early bedtimes! Or just life!

May 19, 2014

New York City Day 3 - Play Day

We got up bright and early to have breakfast and then meet our tour guide for a private tour of NYC.

We started out from the hotel and headed toward Carnegie Hall, which they are renovating the outside of.

That's our tour guide in the beige jacket. This was also before the rain started. And NEVER stopped.

One of the random buildings along our route with some serious art.

Then we headed into Central Park.  Yes, THE Central Park.  I've always wanted to go there.

Since I've begun this new 'healthstyle' and have been running, all I could see were people running ALL over this place.  Really, all over NYC.  You never saw an overweight person there, well, that wasn't a tourist!  You walk or run everywhere.

Here is the Trump ice rink. They were having lessons.  We thought we saw a few future Olympians.

Supposedly, Yuko Ono lives in that Penthouse with the green roof.

More proof that I was there!  And before it rained and got colder!

Just a few friends checking out the tourists.

This is some park he told us about but I can't remember all the details now.  Must not have been that impressive!  The FAO Swartz store is just ahead there.  And no, we didn't have time to go in. BOO.

This is the Plaza Hotel.  I've read the play about it so I thought it was neat, minus the construction cone thingy.

Tiffany's anyone?

This was our first real 'stop' where we took a bathroom break and had coffee.  Or Dr. Pepper if you are me who doesn't drink coffee.

Everything in there was gold.  Not just the color either!  It's hard to see in this photo but this is a waterfall/fountain thing made out of solid gold. NICE.  I wanted to post a pic of the gold bathrooms but thought that might be inappropriate! 

When we left Trump Tower, the rain had begun.  I don't mind rain and I don't mind cold, but I mind rain AND cold.  And relentless rain. But, we trekked on.

These 'parks' pop up all over NYC.  Just places you can go and sit and not quite feel like you are surrounded by HUGE buildings and the hustle and bustle.

Some person with a ton of money got this piece of the Berlin Wall brought to NYC and it's stuck in a random place on the street between some office buildings.

Next we went in the Waldof Astoria.  I've stayed at the one in Orlando before but this was the original.  We stopped for another potty break (yes, I'm with about 15 women and 3 men).  The bathrooms were nicer than ones in people's houses.

From there, we headed over to the Grand Central Terminal.  Here they have the world's largest Apple store. I did not see it, nor do I care.

We ate lunch here before getting on the Subway.  There were neat little places to grab a bite to eat.  No fast food places.  They had pizza and salad and sandwiches and soups and more.  ZERO fried food.  That was nice to not even have the temptation!  I split a turkey and avocado sandwich and some fruit with my roommate.  Yes, that was my first taste of avocado.  I was impressed and have eaten some since.

After lunch, our guide handed out our tickets and we headed down to wait on our train.

I've ridden the Metro in DC many times so to me this was no different. Maybe I am wrong or maybe that's just me.  You just have to pay attention.

After we got off the Subway, we were close to the Brooklyn Bridge.  The rain was coming down worse and the temp must have dropped about 10 degrees.  Says the girl who left her jacket in the hotel!

This was as close to the BB as we got.  We were on a schedule and were headed toward the 911 Memorial.

These were taken inside the church that you saw on TV all during the 911 coverage.  It was just down the street from the Twin Towers and was virtually untouched. People would leave flowers and pictures of loved ones around the grounds and first responders would come in for a rest to get out of the elements and sometimes just pray or rest.

You can still see on the chairs and pews where the firefighters' hear scraped.  They haven't changed anything in there since that day.

This was just outside.  The only thing that happened to this area on 9/11 was that one tree was knocked over.  Amazing considering everything that happened literally right in front of here.

From here, we headed down to the 9/11 Memorial.  That deserves a separate post (see below).  It was breathtaking.

After the 9/11 memorial, our tour was over and we were soaked.  We contemplated hitting up Macy's but then decided we would rather catch the subway back and go change clothes.  So that's what we did. I never made it to Macy's but that's ok. There's always next time.

After we thawed out and dried off, we headed out to an Italian place called Cici's for dinner.  Yet another small and narrow place but this time the food was amazing.  We still had to wait because even though we had a reservation, they were not prepared for us.  At least we had plenty of time on this one.

After dinner, we headed out for our next show.  And yes, it was STILL raining.  

Tonight's show was Phantom of the Opera. We were supposed to see the Rockettes first show of their new tour or whatever, but the week before, they postponed everything until 2015.  So Phantom was a nice replacement.

We still had great seats too.

Now, Phantom is a favorite for a lot of people.  I've seen it before, just not on Broadway.  It was really good but I dozed off a few times.  I think I was just exhausted from going non-stop and there are some slooooow parts of it.

I am glad to say that I've seen it on Broadway now though.

After the show, a few of us decided to go to a local place for dessert that we'd heard so much about.  It's called Sardi's.

 Me and my roomie.  We did so much on this trip. We slept very little and played lots!

 This is their chocolate cake.  It's what I went for.  If you've ever been on a Carnival cruise, it's similar to the warm melting cake.  DIVINE.  And no telling how many calories.  And I don't care.

We were here after the show was over so it was around 11 or later.  People in NYC go out to EAT at that time.  Because they don't get up until lunch!

While we were eating, JOAN RIVERS walked in to have dinner.  I kid you not.  There is one photo of her but it's blurry.  She passed right by our table too.  After they were seated, she went up to the bathroom. When she was walking by our table, she turned to say something to the lady behind her and I turned around thinking she was talking to me. I almost died.  I know she's crazy and vulgar but it was fun.  

The staff there likes for them to feel at home and not bothered so we didn't get a picture of her (that was with consent) but the restaurant has caricatures all over the walls of people who have been in there. So we had to settle for this one.  Apparently, she comes in there a lot because the host told us her pic is front and center. 

He also told us that Vin Diesel was in the week before and he heard a group of girls at a table close to him just giggling and he went and joined them! How awesome!
 That was it for my famous person sightings! 

Until the next day!