Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas

A few years ago Chad and I played Mary & Joseph in the children's Christmas play at the small baptist church that we attended. I came across the picture today and it cracked me up. Since we are only 5 days out from Christmas (so exciting!) I thought it would be an appropriate time to post the picture.

The most memorable part of the play for me was getting whacked in the head with the North Star. It was attached to a fishing pole, and our music minister was responsible for reeling it down into the manager. There was some sort of malfunction with the rod and I ended up getting hit upside the head with the star. It was pretty funny!

I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

NYC: The End

After Mr. David rested for a few hours, we all got cleaned up and headed down the street for dinner at Pigalle. Pigalle is a french bistro that the Brooks have eaten at during each of their trips to NYC. Mr. David said it was all he wanted to eat after eating so much pasta in the past few days. It was one of my favorite meals of the trip - but it was also kind of sad because it was our last night in New York. After a delicious dinner, we headed back over to Junior's for dessert. Chad got cheesecake, I got a slice of their cherry cream cheese pie (so rich, so delicious), Mrs. Suzy got a black & white cookie, and Mr. David got a huge slice of this coconut lemon layer cake. I think I had a bite of them all!

Monday morning we got up and got packed, and then walked around the city a little bit more. I walked a few blocks and found a Tim Horton's. I've heard great things about Tim Horton's from our Canadian friends, so I picked up some donuts for me and Chad. They were pretty good!

Mr. David, Mrs. Suzy and I took another trip down around Rockefeller Plaza, but it started hailing so we high-tailed it back to the hotel. We left the hotel around 10:30am for LaGuardia, and then headed home. It was an amazing trip, and we will forever be grateful to Chad's parents for taking us on such a fantastic trip to New York. It has been a little over a month since we got back, but I still think about the trip all the time. Every time I watch show or movie that was filmed in New York, I think about all of the fun things we got to do and the memories we made as a family. Hopefully we will all get to go back in 2012 or 2013 when I run NYC!

NYC: Day 4 (pt. 2 The NYC Marathon)

Although Sunday morning was kind of a comedy of errors (the phone dying, we couldn't find a cab, we finally found a cab but then a wreck held us up for awhile) but we ended up arriving at Central Park at almost the perfect time. Since our hotel was just a few blocks down from Columbus Circle we were able to walk down and find a great spot between mile 25 and 26. There were a ton of people lining the course, but we were able to find a pretty good spot.

It was so inspiring to see all of the runners re-enter Central Park (the course takes them Central Park at an earlier point in the race), because they knew they were at the end. Runners were cheering, crying, filming with their iPhones. It was pretty incredible, and definitely inspired me to run another marathon this spring. I hardly ever get the chance to be a spectator at running events, and I loved being able to give the runners high 5's and tell them that they were almost there. I know it is annoying for runners to hear "you're almost there!" at mile 17 or 18 of a race, but these folks really were almost there.

I was hoping to catch a glimpse of just one of the many celebrities who were running the race - Al Roker, Meredith Vieria, Jared from Subway, Bobby Flay, that tennis player
Link who had a bet with Andy Roddick, Edison Pena or the Fat Cyclist, but alas I didn't see any of them. However, we did manage to catch a glimpse of Mr. David in the crowd! The stream of runners never thinned out the entire time we were watching, so it would have been pretty easy to miss him. We spotted him right at the entrance to the park and yelled for him but he didn't see us. Chad took off running into the park (I have never seen him run so fast) and he ran right up the barricade and bellowed out "DAD!!!!" and Mr. David turned and saw him. It was beautiful! Mr. David finished strong and then got swallowed up among all of the finishers in the finishers area.

Chad, Mrs. Suzy and I headed back to the hotel
and made a pit stop at Starbucks. It was cool outside, but it was a really beautiful day. The streets were crowded with proud finishers and spectators and New Yorkers and tourists - it was pretty amazing to be a small part of something as huge as the NYC marathon.

Spectators lining the course in the park

"Almost there!"

A four-legged spectator

Runners in the home stretch

The Subway cheering team - I bet they went crazy when Jared ran by!

Runners re-entering Central Park

Proud finishers!
Mr. David & Mr. Doug

NYC: Day 4 (pt. 1)

Whew! Well, things have been pretty uneventful around here the past few weeks. I was knocked flat on my butt last week when I managed to catch both the flu and strep throat at the same time. After a few days of total rest and recovery, and lots and lots of Powerade and antibiotics, I am finally feeling normal again. Chad and I are really looking forward to heading home for Christmas in just a few weeks. I can't believe it is already mid-December! This year has really flown by.

Without further ado, here is the remainder of the NYC posts!

On Sunday morning, Mr. David and Mr. Doug headed over to Staten Island at about 5:00am. The caught a subway over to the ferry, and then once they were on the island they took a bus to the Runner's Village. I have heard the village is amazing - it is where they corral all 40,000+ runners for several hours before the start of the marathon. Mr. David said it was really well organized, and he never had to wait in line for a port-a-potty. I can't even imagine not having to wait for a port-a-potty at a race!

While they were hanging out on Staten Island, Chad, Mrs. Suzy and I hopped back on the Gray Line bus to head back to Battery Park. It was about 10:00am on Sunday morning when we arrived at Battery Park and there was no line at all for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tour. We hopped on the ferry and headed over to Lady Liberty. It was amazing! It was a beautiful day and it was very cool to stand at the base of the statue. We only had like 5 minutes to get back on the boat, and despite our best efforts, we missed it. We spent some time in the gift shop and then got on the next boat over to Ellis Island.

While on the boat we realized that Chad's cell phone was dead, and it was the one phone we signed up for the athlete alerts! Oy vei! I couldn't believe it was dead - I had plugged it in the night before specifically so that it would be fully charged for the day. However, while I plugged the charger into the phone...I forgot to make sure the charger was plugged into the wall. The screen on his Blackberry changes to charger mode if the charger is plugged into the phone, regardless of if it is actually charging or not! So, I felt like an idiot. But, our plan was to take a cab back to the hotel, plug in the phone, grab some lunch, go get the phone, and then head down to Central Park to see Mr. David finish the marathon.

While the phone was charging we walked around mid-town in search of lunch. Mrs. Suzy and I got hot dogs and cold cans of Dr. Pepper (both were delicious!) and Chad got a plate of Greek food from a street vendor. After eating, we headed back to the hotel to get the phone.

Times Square, Sunday morning

Times Square NYPD

A random Elvis crossing the road in SoHo

Chad & Mrs. Suzy on the ferry

Chad & me on the ferry

Ellis Island

Chad & a very friendly bird

Lady Liberty!

We walked past this on our quest for hot dogs

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NYC: Day 3

Saturday, November 6th

On Saturday morning we had breakfast at the hotel, and then headed to Times Square to board a Grayline "Hop On, Hop Off" bus. We got 48 hour "all loops" pass, which included the Downtown Loop, the Uptown Loop, and the Brooklyn Loop. Our aim was to see the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero, so we got on the Downtown Loop bus.

We started in Times Square and headed south. We passed Madison Square Garden, Macy's, the Empire State Building, the Flat Iron Building,
Greenwich Village, SoHo, Canal St., Wall St., Ground Zero, and ended at Battery Park. We got off at Battery Park with the intent of getting on the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, but the line was already hours long, and it was only about 10:30am! We decided that Chad, Mrs. Suzy and I would return Sunday morning to the Statue of Liberty while Mr. David was over on Staten Island waiting to start the marathon.

Battery Park was a bustling little place, and there were tons of food vendors, t-shirt stands, and people dressed as the Statue of Liberty. Chad bought me some roasted cashews and they were out of this world. You can smell the roasted nuts from a mile away, and the scent is pretty much intoxicating.

After leaving Battery Park, we walked north up to Wall St. and Ground Zero. We stopped to see Alexander Hamilton's grave at the beautiful Trinity Church, and then stopped to see the 9/11 memorials at St. Paul's Chapel. This was incredibly moving, and I definitely teared up a little bit. I had to stop reading some of the accounts from 9/11 so that I wouldn't start downright sobbing in the chapel. When you walk out of the back doors of St. Paul's Chapel you are looking straight at Ground Zero. It is almost inconceivable to think that not even a single window was broken during the collapse of the buildings. From their website:

The Little Chapel That Stood

On September 11, 2001, St. Paul’s Chapel escaped destruction when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed across the street. Although the churchyard and church were filled with debris and dust, there was no physical damage to the building.

After looking at Ground Zero, we hopped back on the Grayline bus, headed north and got off at South Street Seaport, aka Pier 17. We were looking for lunch, and ended up eating at Uno's. Ironically, one of our best meals on the trip came from a chain restaurant that serves Chicago style pizza, ha. There was about a 30 minute wait, due mostly to the fact that a kid's birthday party was taking up about half the restaurant. In order to get the bathroom I had to traverse a group of 4 year-olds taking swings at a pinata. Seriously, who brings a pinata to a restaurant? It was interesting to see all of the nannies lined up with strollers, waiting to take the kids home. You don't see that in Central Kentucky!

One kind of funny/kind of sad thing that happened was a guy bent down to pick up a baby and then stood up really fast. The only problem was that he was right under a low-hanging light fixture, so the poor little kid's head crashed right into the light fixture. The only thing that made it kind of funny was that it wasn't the guy's baby - it was his friends. He obviously felt terrible, and the parents were very gracious. It was pretty entertaining to watch all of this going on while we were waiting for our table.

After lunch we got back on the bus and headed back to midtown. We passed the United Nations building, the Trump Towers, the East Village, and Turtle Bay. Once we were back at Rockefeller Center we got off the bus and walked around some more. We stopped at The Christmas Cottage and picked up some ornaments, and then got coffee and desserts at Fluffy's Cafe & Bakery. We thought about going to Magnolia Bakery, but the line was unbelievably long. Fluffy's was pretty good though! I had a red velvet cupcake that was about the size of my head. Chad had a cannoli, Mr. David had cheesecake, and Mrs. Suzy had a black and white cookie.

We headed back to the hotel to rest up a little before dinner. Mr. David wanted to get off his feet and get his gear together for the marathon, and Mrs. Suzy and I wanted to watch Zenyatta in her historic race at the Breeder's Cup. Zenyatta almost had it, but lost by a head.

We ventured back out Saturday night for dinner. Mr. David had one meal in mind - pancakes. He had been eating pasta for lunch and dinner for the past three days and he said he wanted to hurl at the thought of eating another noodle. He normally eats pancakes before his long runs in training, so he felt that would be a good pre-race meal. We walked a few blocks over from the hotel and found the Morning Star cafe, a small diner that served breakfast 24/7.

After dinner, we stopped in at a drugstore so that Mr. David could buy a disposable rain pancho to sit on at the Runner's Village in Staten Island. His start time for the marathon was 10:10am, but they had to be over on Staten Island around 7:30am, so he wanted to make sure he had a warm dry place to sit in case of rain. We could not find rain panchos anywhere (they had been cleaned out of umbrellas and panchos), but Chad, Mrs. Suzy and I did find a Dracula cape that was on clearance from Halloween. We were laughing so hard at the thought of Mr. David carrying a Dracula cape to sit on, but we knew he wouldn't go for it. When we told him about it he actually did consider it for a minute, but then Chad found one pancho stuck behind a display. It worked out for Mr. David, but we would have loved to see him wearing a cape.

Pictures from Saturday:

Battery Park

Roasted cashews are da bomb.

Wall Street subway station

Alexander Hamilton's grave.
(I bet he always wanted to be buried next to a factory shoe outlet.)

Inside St. Paul's Chapel

The back of St. Paul's Chapel,
directly across from Ground Zero

Ground Zero

Me and Chad on the bus

Pier 17

Zarin Fabrics
(sadly, there were no Bobby or Jill sightings)

Cell phone picture of my cupcake at Fluffy's

Pancakes at Morning Star Cafe

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NYC: Day 2 (pt. 2)

Friday, November 5th

After breakfast, we hopped in a cab and made our way to the American Museum of Natural History. Chad loves museums so he was pretty excited - I was just hoping to catch a glimpse of Dexter, the little monkey in "A Night at the Museum." We didn't see Dexter, Ben Stiller, or Robin Williams, but we did see a ton of cool artifacts and exhibits.

After leaving the museum, we walked through Central Park from the museum over to Columbus Circle. Even though the day started off cold and rainy, it gradually warmed up and cleared up. It ended up being a gorgeous day. The leaves in Central Park were beautiful, and the park was everything I imagined it would be based on my multiple viewings of "You've Got Mail."

After exiting the park through Columbus Circle, we made our way back to the hotel and stopped at a little pizza place called Luigi's Gourmet Grill for lunch. I shared a pepperoni pizza with Mr. David and Mrs. Suzy, and Chad had a meatball sandwich.

After our late lunch we headed to Starbucks and then back to the hotel to rest for a little bit before going to dinner and to see The Lion King.

We had a few hours to spare, so Mr. David and I headed back to the expo. Mr. David wanted to buy a jacket and I was eager to buy some more stuff, too. Once back at the expo, I bought a Saucony t-shirt and another Asics hat. I saw Tyson Gay signing autographs, and I walked right past Bart Yasso in the crowd. I said "Bart Yasso!" and he looked at me, so I said "I am a big fan" and patted him on the back. It was pretty cool! I wish I would have brought my latest issue of Runner's World with me so that Bart Yasso, Mark Remy and Tyson Gay could have signed it.

Once we got back from the expo, I changed into my evening wear (ha) and we headed out to get dinner before the Lion King. We ended up at Roxy's, a delicatessen in Time Square, and it was pretty disappointing. No one really enjoyed their dinner but me - I had a meatloaf sandwich that was pretty good - and it was extremely over-priced. I guess that is what you get for eating in Times Square! But we were seated right next to a lady who has run something like 50 marathons in the past 5 years, so it was very interesting to talk with her about her marathon experiences.

After dinner, we walked a few blocks to the Minskoff Theater to see The Lion King. It was pretty incredible. We had fantastic seats that were smack dab in the middle
of the theater, so it was very easy to see. It was very interesting to see how they interpreted the characters and brought the cartoon to life. I did nod off a little during the second half, but I think it was from sheer exhaustion. The little guy who played Simba was very talented, but he wasn't quite as good as Jonathan Taylor Thomas. After leaving the theater, we headed back to the hotel and (after a 19 hour day) I immediately fell asleep!

Some pictures from Friday afternoon:

Theodore Roosevelt statue in front
of the Museum of Natural History

"Leopard Man" in the rafters of the museum.
It was terrifying!

They even had flying turtles.

Mr. David and Chad with a T-Rex

Chad made a souvenir penny at the museum

Skyline view from Central Park

Mrs. Suzy and Mr. David in Central Park

Chad and me in Central Park

A pretty bridge in Central Park

No soup for you!

Tyson Gay and some random guy at the expo

Definitely unlike anything I had ever seen!

NYC: Day 2 (pt. 1)

Friday, November 5th

After a good night's rest, I was up at 4:00am on Friday morning to get ready to walk down to the the Today Show. This was probably one of the top things I was looking forward to doing on the trip - I love the Today Show and watch it every morning. I couldn't wait to be there in person and hopefully touch Al Roker.

I met Mrs. Suzy in the lobby at 5:15am (major props to Mrs. Suzy for agreeing to go with me at the crack of dawn!!) and we headed to Rockefeller Plaza. I had done some research online and found that it was best to arrive by 5:30am if you wanted to get a prime spot for the taping. We arrived right at 5:30am, and there was only a handful of people there - yes!! There was a group of women promoting a new show for BET, and a group of women who were on a girl's trip, so we got behind them in line. The way it works is that the actual plaza is barricaded until about 6:45am. Then, the police open it up and you enter the plaza in the order of the line. With only 10 people ahead of us, we were primed to get a great spot!

There was a coffee truck parked right next to us giving away free coffee, hot chocolate and bagels. We spoke to the guy who runs the truck - turns out he was featured on The Marriage Ref last year. After waiting in line for a while, I realized that I needed to find a bathroom before we moved into the plaza. I asked the guy in the truck if there was a public restroom anywhere nearby, and he told me to go into the parking garage across the street and find an open space! I'm sure my eyes just about bulged out of my head when he told me that, because he started laughing and said "or you could go down to that little diner down there." I opted for the diner.

Pretty soon Lenny arrived, and then the police began allowing us to move into the plaza area. A large section of the plaza was blocked off, as the Rockettes were scheduled to perform that morning. We tried to get as close to Lenny as we could. We ended up being right on the fence, at the corner near Rockefeller Center. We were told this was a good location, as when Matt, Meredith, Al, Anne and Natalie come out, they normally head straight for this corner. This wasn't the case for our morning, but oh well!

They have large monitors and speakers outside so that you can hear what they are saying as you watch them filming inside. We watched Matt do the pre-Today show teasers for local news stations to play and watched as Meredith had her make-up touched up. It was all very fascinating.

Around 7:15 or so, the Rockettes came walking down the street - they were making their way from Radio City Music Hall to the NBC Studios. It was very surreal to see this group of 30 or so Rockettes just walking down the street in their trademark Santa outfits!

At about 7:30, Matt, Meredith and Al came outside! The crowd went wild and everyone was clamoring for them to come and see them. Matt walked right up to us and we got to shake his hand. I saw him coming closer and closer to us and I ended up with my camera right in his face. So, of course, I took a picture. I told him I was sorry and that I had no idea he was coming so close! A few people asked if he was running the marathon and he said "no, I'm a cyclist." He was also much smaller in person, and very stylish. I was happy to meet Matt, but my goal was to meet Al - I even had a sign for him.

The Today Show was a lot of fun, but it did involve long portions of standing around and waiting. They would normally come out of the studio every 30 minutes or so which wasn't bad at all, but it was a cold and rainy morning so they didn't spend too much extra time outside. Can't say that I blame them! I was wearing jeans, running shoes, a short sleeved shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a light jacket, and my Brooks running jacket and I was STILL cold! I lost feeling in my feet about half way through, but it was all worth it to experience the live taping of the Today Show. The main guest that morning was Christine O'Donnell, and I didn't really care to see her. I was very excited though when they interviewed Mary Wittenberg (President of the New York Road Runners) and the Chilean miner who was going to be running the marathon. Mary is a big inspiration to me, so it was really neat to see her in person. They also interviewed three Olympians outside, but I didn't catch who they were. While they never filmed a segment directly in front of us, at some point during the broadcast me and Mrs. Suzy made it on screen! It was one of the times where they were panning across the crowd. Chad texted me to let me know he had just seen us, so it was then I knew that we had made it on the big screen. It was exhilarating. Later that day, my boss sent me a text of a screen shot of me and Mrs. Suzy that they had taken off their DVR! Al did come by and shake our hands, but it was very brief and I didn't get to wish him good luck in the marathon. He is much smaller in person, too!

After four hours in, we gave up the fight and headed back towards our hotel in search of breakfast and a bathroom. I was really hoping to go to Dean and Deluca, but the Rockefeller store closed in August! I was not able to channel my inner Felicity.

By now Chad and Mr. David were up and ready to hit the city, so we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and get breakfast in the lobby. After breakfast, we headed to the Museum of Natural Science. More on that in Day 2 (pt. 2)!

Pictures from Friday morning:
Waiting to enter this area!

Rooting for Al.
The window over my right shoulder is where Matt and Meredith sit!
(Note to self: do something about those puffy eyes!)

The crew was always right in front of us -
filming to our right and to our left!

The Rockettes!

The screen shot from my boss' DVR!

Matt, Meredith and Al
(that's Lenny in the black plaid coat.
The BET girls were between me and him)

Matt Lauer, up close and personal!


Mary Wittenberg

Rockefeller Center

We passed St. Patrick's Cathedral on our way back to the hotel.
It was odd to see such a beautiful cathedral amongst skyscrapers!

Inside St. Patrick's