Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Experiencing The City That Never Sleeps

Sunday was packed full and my feet were crying mercy by the end of it all!  I was thankful for my light and airy Crocs I bought before the trip.  :)  There was so much we wanted to do and though we made time for it all, we were completely worn out by day's end.  It was so much fun though!  Here's what we did in pictures:

Sunday: Double Decker Bus Tour Day 2, Chinatown, World Trade Center Tribute Museum & 9/11 National Memorial, Wall Street, Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty, Redeemer Presbyterian (Tim Keller's church)

View from the top of the bus

Wow, I sure am looking pregnant.  I bought a cute fedora-style hat on the street corner the previous day.  I wanted to try it out - it worked great, although I did get a little hot on Canal street. 

Cute family pic on top of the bus.
Empire State Building - another gorgeous day, although a wee bit hotter than Saturday.

Flat Iron Building.  I had to take the picture fast before my head got chopped off by one of those low hanging street lights! 
When we arrived on Canal Street and got of the bus, an Asian lady immediately greeted us with a booklet of sorts and said "You want purse, watch, handbag, sunglass?"  We said, "Uh, sure!"  She promptly lead us down several streets, several blocks from our bus stop and we somehow ended up at this "store" you see below.  We were guided to the back of the store where another merchant carefully pushed open a secret door and ushered us in to a small room filled with knock-off designer bags, totes, purses, clutches, wallets, belts and other accessories.  Wow it sure was an experience!  I ended up buying a "Michael Kors" navy tote bag which promptly broke as soon as I loaded it with my things at the Starbucks down the street.  Of course, we immediately walked back and they replaced the strap for me.  Now it works wonderfully and I'm so pleased with my so-called designer bag! :)

Thank goodness Dad and Jay were there to watch our backs.  It felt like we were being lead into some trafficking system!  Yikes!

After our awesome experience in Chinatown (I loved it so much I wanted to come back - which we ended up doing Tuesday morning before we left), we made our way back to the bus and headed toward lunch and the World Trade Center Tribute Museum & 9/11 National Memorial (it's sort of taboo to call it Ground Zero now).  We walked through the Tribute Museum taking pictures and reading stories upon stories of how people reacted and felt that unforgettable day.  It was very moving and sobering.

A recovered firefighter's uniform still mainly intact

A demolished steel beam recovered from the scene

Origami in the stairwell

They are in the process of rebuilding the World Trade Center which will be taller than the orginal towers.  That's the pic in the upper left corner. 

This is one of the pools symbolizing the the South Tower.  Every person who lost their life has his/her name engraved on the wall.

After the memorial, we stopped for a Mister Softee ice cream cone.  I got vanilla sprinkles and Jay got chocolate dipped. :)

Then we went to see the Bull on Wall Street that is in lots of movies, though I couldn't tell you one of them off the top of my head.  We chose the head....

And Dad and Mom chose the butt!  Ha ha.

We made our way over to Battery Park to catch the ferry over to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island.  It was getting very warm and there were a ton of people waiting in line, but we knew it would be worth it once we saw her up close.

Here she is from our ferry.

New York skyline in the background.  See the tallest building?  That's the new WTC.

Snapped this awesome shot sitting down.  America.

There's Jay and me small as ants near the bottom!

The ferry station

Our first subway ride over to the west side for church service

Getting tired yet?

Although we were exhausted, it was Sunday and we were looking forward to worshipping at a church we'd heard much about.  It was a wonderful service and we all enjoyed it very much.

After church, we finally made it to dinner at Five Napkin Burger - a place our tour guide from the previous day had mentioned and highly recommended.  We'd do the same.  It. Was. DELICIOUS.

We were so pooped and stuffed after dinner we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel.  Bed was calling our names as another fantastic day had come to a close.

When we got back I wasn't too tired to snap a quick Instagram shot of my "goodies" from the day. 
Michael Kors navy blue handbag
Tory Burch black leather bracelet
Michael Kors tortoise shell watch
David Yurman pearl and torquoise bracelets
Street vendor fedora hat


Still more to come from NYC!  Our last full day coming up tomorrow.  Keep you posted...

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Big Apple - Travel Day & Day 1

Rather than try to extract every detail from our trip and bore you with wordy explanations, I'm going to overload you with pictures and fun captions instead.  We left KC Friday morning and arrived in NYC around 4 o'clock.  We were able to check in to our hotel room and begin our fun family vacation immediately!

Friday: Arrival and The Lion King

Awaiting our plane to NYC

Fun welcome sign as we landed

Casablanca Hotel

Rainy Friday night on the Square

As the sign says... "There's simply nothing else like it!"

The Minskoff Theatre was only a block away

Busy Times Square after the show - it looked like daylight when we walked out of the theater!

We found Dave Letterman!  Not really, just his studio.  And Jay has glowy eyes... creepy.

Giant cheesecake at Stage Deli - the best in town!

Enjoying dessert after the show

Saturday: Double Decker Bus Tour Day 1, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Once

Starting the day - it was about 65 degrees in the morning with a high of about 80.  Beautiful day!

Fun Instagram collage: (from upper left - characters on Times Square, top deck of the bus, wishes written on confetti from New Year's Eve 2011)

Snapshots from the bus...
Not entirely sure what this picture is of... but I think it was a cool statue and there was some high-end shopping around there or something.

Museum of Natural History - where they filmed parts of "Night at the Museum"

Pretty church with no significance.  I just thought it was a nice picture ;)

Central Park Lawn with Belvedere Castle in the background.  There was a wedding going on there!

Yummy hot dogs - New York style!

Mom and me at Rockefeller Center

Dad and Jay

Beautiful cathedral where lots of famous people supposedly get married.

Jay and I made a candle offering and placed it by the angel.

Fancy dinner at a Pan-Asian restaurant called TAO.  Supposedly lots of famous people eat there but we didn't see anyone.  Maybe they were super sneaky.

Dinner was delicious - we all got something different and our waiter wasn't crazy like the picture makes him look.  He was actually very helpful and pleasant.  :)

Outside Jacobs Theatre before "Once".  People were cutting in line as we were taking the picture.  How rude.  It's not like we didn't have reserved seats, people.  C'mon.


Stay tuned for more from our New York get-away.  I've sat in front of a computer for way too long today and need to catch up on Team USA!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New York Is Coming and Quick Update

Lately I haven't had much time for blogging or anything else besides working and being pregnant.  I feel pretty useless most days but I have the most wonderful and helpful husband anyone could ask for.  I'm definitely one lucky gal.  Jay and I have had a very busy July and things don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  After our family reunion, Jay spent the next week and a half studying hard core for Step 2 of his board exams.  I was slammed at work and we were both feeling pretty exhausted almost all the time.  On that note, though, we were able to take some time off for a vacation to New York City with Dad and Mom.  It was sort of our "last hoorah" before Caroline arrives and changes our lives totally and completely.  ;)  We had the most fun and amazing time - just the four of us - and I can't wait to share the pictures and tell you all about it.  For now though, I leave you with this lame and boring post to whet your appetite for much more to come soon!  Keep reading, my friends, I promise there's more to our lives than work and studying (even though it doesn't feel like it sometimes).  I'm off to enjoy some Olympics and elevate my feet for a little while! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Fourth of July Reunion

This year, like always, we headed down to Lake Texoma for our annual Keyser family reunion!  Since the 4th was on a Wednesday, we extended our vacation time an extra day.  Everyone arrived Wednesday afternoon and we welcomed each other once again to Cedar Mills.  The fun began immediately and there's not a single dull moment when the Keyser family is together!  Everyday was filled with sunshine, lakeside activities, games, and lots of food!  Such a fun family time that we look forward to every year. :)

*All pictures are credited to my lovely cousin Genessa since I took about 3 total.  Thanks cousin!


Roomies!  Tommy and Jessie

English Country Dancing

Volleyball!  The highlight of my trip.

Family baby shower hosted by sisters and Jessie!

Handmade burp cloths

Playing with Uncle Jay

Sail boating - Uncle Edward and Leslie

Dancing with the "princesses"

The air strip in front of our cabins


Making flag cake with the little girls...


Popa taking Lucy for a jet ski ride

Face painting America style ;)

Jay studying even in the sun

Snack time with Nana

Grilling out

Fun with sidewalk chalk

Genessa and her momma, Aunt Janet

Stew playing in the sand

Sun bathing cuties!


My beautiful Grandmother Gene who made this all happen.

A little bit of "forced family fun" :)  Happy Fourth everyone!