Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

How was everyone's holiday? We had a very nice long weekend! I hope you did, too.

Our Thanksgiving got off to a little bit of a rocky start, but ended well. We woke up early because Eric was signed up to run a 5-Mile Turkey Trot in Prospect Park (Brooklyn), and I planned to go with him. I wasn't feeling well when I woke up though, so I stayed home to make pie. Yes, Eric went to run five miles and I stayed home and made pie. That is how we each prioritize our lives.

Eric returned a few hours later with a good race time and a fancy Turkey Trot medal. Way to go, Eric! Plus, on his way home from the subway, he got to see a couple Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons pass by. So, I guess that counts as us having seen the parade three years in a row, right?

My Turkey Trotting husband

Turkey Trot medal

Eric hopped in the shower right away and I went to retrieve my freshly-baked pumpkin pie from the oven. This is where things really went awry. As I tried to move my pie to its cooling rack, it somehow slipped out of my hands and fell right to the floor. PIE EVERYWHERE. Eric could hear me cry out in despair from the shower, and I could practically hear Achilles yelling in his little mind, "It's a Thanksgiving MIRACLE!!!" as he dashed out to the kitchen to investigate. Luckily, we have been working on all kinds of training with him, including making him sit and wait until I tell him to go eat when I feed him. That training paid off during the Great Pumpkin Pie Debacle of 2010 because Achilles ran right to my side, stopped dead in his tracks and just stared at the pie, waiting for my cue that he should eat it. That cue would never come, poor well-behaved dog. RIP Pumpkin Pie #1.

To be fair, the pie did kind of land in his food bowl, so should have been fair game.

This dog looks disgruntled.

Luckily we live above a grocery store that is open on Thanksgiving, so Eric ran down and bought the supplies for Pumpkin Pie #2, which was prepared without incident. The day is saved!

The rest of the day was very nice. We had some nice chats with family (including an awesome Skype with Eric's family), munched on shrimp, cheese, pepperoni and crackers, and prepared an amazing feast while we watched the Thanksgiving Parade on DVR.

Our appetizer

Mmm, shrimp

Eric checking the turkey

Oh, hello there, you delicious-looking turkey, you.

The meal itself was divine. We have really come a long way in our Thanksgiving preparation skills (Pie Debacle notwithstanding). We ate delicious food, we drank wine, we talked. We ate far, far too much. Just how Thanksgiving should be!

Our spread, including turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, rolls, and pie.

Green bean casserole and gravy

Artsy wine/table shot

Family Thanksgiving photo

After dinner we relaxed for a while then dug into dessert: Pumpkin Pie #2, and a Carvel ice cream cake that Eric picked up along with my pumpkin pie supplies. We spent the rest of the night relaxing and watching TV.

 This pie made it safely to my table, without and floor detours.

Eric's adorable ice cream cake

Friday was a reasonably quiet day. Eric had to go in to work for a bit, so I stuck around the house and made turkey soup. Mmmm, mmmm. We had our second round of Thanksgiving food for dinner, and it continued to be amazing. Another quiet night in finished things off.

Saturday we went out and picked up a Black Friday online purchase from Best Buy - a new, fancy camera! Eric has really taken an interest in photography recently, so we decided to upgrade our point-and-shoot camera for something with a bit more capability. Eric did a ton of research, and we ended up with a Nikon D3100. We have a lot to learn about the new camera, but so far, we love it. In my opinion, it was totally worth it just for the ability to get these sorts of pictures of our view:

Looking southeast towards Times Square and the Empire State Building

Holy zoom! Closeup of the Empire State Building, decked out in her Thanksgiving best

To really illustrate the improvement, here is a photo Eric took of the Thanksgiving-colored Empire State Building with our old point-and-shoot camera, versus the same picture taken with the new camera:

Uh. Yeah.

I know we still have a long way to go to really make the most of this camera, but if we can get pictures like that after just a few hours of Eric tinkering around with it, I'm sold. We can finally take decent nighttime pictures of our view! I've been trying to capture this view on film for the past two years. It's so nice to finally see it in a photo like we see it in real life.

Looking straight ahead (due east) from our living room window

Looking northeast (the two towers on the left are the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, at the SW corner of Central Park)

Looking SE down our street (well, our avenue if you want accuracy)

Anyway, enough gushing about the camera and the view. After Best Buy, we spent the rest of the day inside our warm apartment (it's chilly out there now, folks). I edited photos from Molly's wedding (I'm hoping to get Mexico recaps going this week!), Eric played with the camera, we picked up some Daisy May's BBQ and watched the UF v. FSU game (boo, hiss), then caught up on some DVR.

Achilles was really enjoying all the cuddly couch time this weekend

On Sunday, we went to church then went for a walk through Central Park. There are still a few colorful leaves hanging on some of the trees, but most of the trees are bare by now.

This is Eric trying out the new camera in daylight, and me trying out my new winter coat. So far, I like both.

 Photographer Eric

That beautiful bridge

SE corner of the park

We exited the park at the southeast corner and walked down Fifth Avenue (already decorated for Christmas, of course!) to Bryant Park. We did some shopping at the holiday shops there, then went over to Grand Central to check out those holiday shops. There are some nice things at both places! I just love a good holiday market.

They may be hard to make out, but I love the wreaths they put on the windows of Bergdorf Goodman. They remind me of wreaths I used to put on the windows of my dollhouse at Christmas when I was a kid.

That is one decked out food cart.

We then made our way home, where we had turkey soup for dinner (it turned out very well, if I do say so myself) and decorated our Christmas tree. We usually decorate our tree on Thanksgiving, but this year we just didn't quite get to it. Slackers! But, now it is done and looking lovely.

 Tree trimming time!

Eric trimming the tree

Trying to be artsy again!

We put Achilles in a festive holiday sweater, so he just laid around and looked pitiful.

He did join me for a "finished product" photo, though!

Ta-da!

And that was our weekend! Very nice!

As I mentioned, I'm going to try to get the Mexico recaps started this week (tomorrow maybe?), so check back regularly. I think I'm going to split it up and do a post per Mexico day, just to keep things as short and sweet as possible. Of course we also have some fun stuff going on this week (namely, my husband's birthday on Wednesday!), so there could be all kinds of things to read about around here for the next week or two!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

 Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope you all are having a fabulous day filled with friends, family, and lots of delicious food. Unlike years past, there will be no Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for us this year - well, not in person anyway. Eric is running a Turkey Trot this morning, and then we will be watching the parade on DVR in the comfort and warmth of our apartment while cooking our Thanksgiving feast. Then tonight we will continue the tradition of trimming our Christmas tree and officially welcoming the Christmas season.

Now is the part of the post where I go totally unoriginal and list the things I'm thankful for. Overdone, I know, but it's always nice, isn't it? We've come so far in a year, and it's nice to reflect on what has brought us to this point. So, here is my Thanksgiving Thankful List, 2010 Edition:
What I'm Thankful For...

I'm thankful for my husband, who is so supportive, thoughtful, kind, and hard-working. We're facing some life changes in the near future and I'm so thankful to have a husband who puts so much thought and careful consideration into what path will be best for our family.

I'm thankful for my family. Family is so important, don't you think? Coming off a week spent with some of my most favorite people in Mexico, I am reminded how lucky I am to have these people (and those who weren't there as well, of course) in my life. We are very blessed in this department.

I'm thankful for how far Toni has come in the past year. Last year at this time, I was just thankful that she was still with us. I never would have imagined how far she would come in just a year's time. She's such an inspiration and I love her very much.

I'm thankful for Achilles. He may cause me stress sometimes, but he always puts a smile on my face. Specifically, his newfound love of sleeping with his tongue sticking out is just delightful.

I'm thankful for our apartment. I know this is our last holiday season in this apartment (thanks to a looming rent increase headed our way in February), but we have been so lucky to live in such an incredible place for the past two years.

I'm thankful for our travels this year - the cruise, Los Angeles, several Florida trips, Cleveland, and Mexico. What great experiences! I hope we can continue to travel together in the coming year...we're hoping to plan an Italy trip!

I'm thankful for a new year to look forward to, one that promises to be filled with change and exciting new things. I can't wait to see where we end up.

I'm thankful for New York City. There's just nothing like it, and living here has been an experience I will never forget.
Take some time today in between helpings of turkey to think about what you're thankful for, and please, share! I would love to hear what you are thankful for, too.

I hope you all have a most wonderful holiday! Happy Thanksgiving from the W. Family!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

¡Viva Mexico!


We're back from Mexico! It was an utterly fabulous week that ended with an incredible wedding. All our travel was smooth and timely, the weather was unbelievably superb, my high school Spanish came back to me surprisingly well, I nearly ate my body weight in guacamole, I drank more margaritas than a person should probably ever drink, we did tons of fun activities, we relaxed on the beach, we spent time with family and made new friends, Molly was a stunning bride, the wedding was beautiful, and we had an absolutely awesome time all around.

I have so much to share with you, but my friends, I need time. As we are wont to do, we took roughly a bajillion pictures. Okay, maybe not a bajillion, but well over 1,000 - in fact, somewhere in excess of 1,200. Needless to say, I've got some editing to do. Add to that all the video we took of the wedding, and top it all off with a holiday on Thursday, and it's going to be a while before I get my life together over here. So, don't expect any detailed Mexico recaps until after the holiday weekend, but then I promise to return with a vengeance.

To tide you over until I figure out the best way to tackle this thing, I will give you a quick look at what our week consisted off...

The view from our hotel room looked like this:

The view from room 908 at El Dorado Pacifico in Ixtapa

We hung out on beaches that looked like this:

 Playa Larga in Zihuatanejo

We ate food that looked like this (and lots of it):

Plato de Mexico - my first dinner

We drank drinks that looked like this (and lots of them, obviously):

They loooove 2-for-1 margaritas down there.

We played in waves that looked like this:

They were awesome!

We watched sunsets that looked like this:

Our first night in Mexico - not a terrible start to the week.

We hung out with family and made new friends, and spent a lot of time looking like this:

 Laughing with my favorite girls as we par-tayed in Molly & Arturo's suite

Eric played golf in a setting like this:

Marina Ixtapa Golf Club

Eric and I did a little bit of this:

Horseback riding on Playa Larga

I got all decked out to dance the night away for Molly's bachelorette party, like this:

Enjoying a night out at Rumba Caliente

We witnessed a wedding where the bride and groom looked like this:

Heather, Arturo, Arturo's wife and me after the ceremony!

We had a little bit of fun at the wedding reception, like this:

Zita, Arturo's sister Andrea, Molly, Heather and me having a clearly so-so time at the reception.

We ended the night in a most awesome way, like this:

Everybody JUMP! (This crossed an item off my bucket list!)

And that was our week in a nutshell! I can't wait to tell you all about it in great detail (probably far more detail that you will care about, but that's how I roll), but for now I must buckle down, get organized, and prepare for the holiday.

In the meantime, I will close with a great, big, heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS, MOLLY & ARTURO! ¡Felicidades!

Monday, November 15, 2010

¡Hasta Luego!

We're out of here! By the time this post goes live, Eric and I will be well on our way to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico!

 Photo of Zihuatanejo Bay, taken by Molly last November!

My dear cousin Molly is getting married on Saturday evening, and I can't wait! As you have probably figured out, Molly has always been an important person in my life. She and I have been great friends since we were just little ones:

 A couple of my favorite Molly & Meghan pictures!
On the left: Molly, me and my doll Sharri out for a walk; on the right: me giving my cousin a hug

And we've only gotten closer as time has gone on. I'm so excited to celebrate her marriage this week!

We're going to have a great time. We don't have nearly the detailed itinerary for this trip that we did for our Hungary/Scotland trip last year, but I know we'll be doing some awesome things.

We'll be arriving in Ixtapa around 2:30 (CST) this afternoon. We have a layover in Houston first, and will actually be meeting up with Heather there so we can all continue on to Mexico together! Molly, Arturo, my cousin Jacob (Molly's brother) and his wife Zita are already there, so we will see them when we get to the hotel. We'll be staying at the Dorado Pacifico Resort, and it looks glorious. Heather will be sharing a room with Eric and me, so it's going to be one big giant fun party all week long!

The Dorado Pacifico Resort

Sample room at the resort - not a terrible view.

Oh hello there, you beautiful swim-up bar, you. I foresee myself spending many hours on those wonderful underwater bar stools.

Delicious dinner with a view of the Mexican sunset? Okay, you twisted my arm.

We will spend the next couple of days relaxing on the beach and doing various activities, although we don't have a set schedule just yet. Eric will golf (of course), we'll probably do some snorkeling, maybe a sunset cruise, maybe ziplining. Well, the others seem interested in ziplining, but I'm terrified. I am a girl who could not watch the movie Up in 3D because the heights made me too nervous, so I'm not so much down with the ziplining thing. I'm going to try to work up my nerve, but I make no promises.

I can guarantee, however, that I will be enjoying the great outdoors in some way, shape or form if this weather forecast holds true:


How incredible does that look? Maybe I'll be enjoying that 88 degrees with sun and 0-10% chance of precipitation while soaring through a forest on a zipline, or maybe I'll enjoy it from a chair on the beach with a margarita in each hand (the latter is much more likely than the former), but you can rest assured that I will be enjoying it, one way or another.

On Wednesday, more of our family will arrive for the festivities, including my mother. Then things will really start to pick up. Thursday night is Molly's bachelorette party, and Heather and I have a few fun things in store for that! Friday will be the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner, and then Heather, Zita and I will spend the night with Molly at Casa Kau-Kan in Zihuatanejo, where the wedding will actually take place.

Another photo stolen from Molly - this is the view from Restaurant Kau-Kan, where we will be having the rehearsal dinner!

We will spend Saturday getting ready for the Big Event (I'm doing Molly's hair! Yikes!), and then at sunset, Molly will walk down the aisle! The ceremony will be followed by dinner, drinks, dancing, and general merriment. Then we will spend the night at Casa Kau-Kan so the party can continue as late into the night as we want!

Casa Kau-Kan - the wedding will be on this beach!

Sample room at Kau-Kan (another photo stolen from Molly)

Sunday, Molly and Arturo will leave for their honeymoon in the Yucat√°n Peninsula (lucky!), while Heather, Eric and I will return to Dorado for our last day. We will most likely spend the day talking about how awesome the wedding was and being sad we have to leave.

Heather, my mom, Eric and I are all on the same flight out of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo on Monday, so we will leave together and part ways during our layover in Houston. Eric and I will be back in New York late Monday evening, and will be reunited with poor non-vacationing Achilles on Tuesday.

This certainly promises to be a great trip! If our internet connection is decent down there I might pop on for a quick "¡Hola! We're here!" post, but that will be it for me (if that happens at all) until we're back in the States. So, I bid you a great week! ¡Adios!