Sunday, August 18, 2013

The month of Jew-lie...

Oh hey there, peeps! I'm overdue, so let's get right to it!
The month of July was great... summer at its very best! I had a wonderful NYC Fourth of July complete with the famous hot dog eating contest on Coney Island, some beach time, a fun picnic in central park and fireworks on our TV... :)
The crowd was incredible. Everyone there was so pumped - never seen anything like it. I couldn't help but join and get right in the USA watch-people-stuff-their-faces spirit.
And of course... we had to get our own famous Nathan's hot dogs.
We even found some real live famous Nathan hot dogs! The contest was basically right on Coney Island beach so after lunch we walked right on over to the sand and got our tan on.
 That night, we met up with some old BYU friends for a picnic in central park. It was so beautiful and such a perfect end to a fun day.
 After our picnic, everyone came over to our house where we watched the fireworks on our TV. I know, I know... we were RIGHT THERE, but we just didn't have the desire to go out and fight crowds again in order to watch them in person. Judge if you will. After fireworks, I gave Brendan a little haircut... that is the explanation for the picture above. This was Deb haircut #3 for him and so far he has been happy with the results. And it's a good thing too cuz I really don't know what I'm doin! But shhhhhh....
 The very next day I hopped on a bus and rode it for 6 hours so I could meet up with my sis, Darla, and her cute fam in Geneva, NY. 
 Despite what the picture tells you, the bus actually wasn't so bad. I had service, wi-fi, a power outlet and all the people-watching anyone could ever want. Some people are just cray cray. But anyway - I met up with Darla in Geneva and then we spent the night in a vacation house with some of their friends, so we could wake up early the next morning and hit the road... bound for Kansas City, Kansas!
 Will you just look at these gems? We had a LONG road trip together, but it really couldn't have been better. Darla's kids are the sweetest and we made many 'o good mems. 
 Caroline is the funniest little thing. I really loved getting to know her cute personality.
 I got to share a hotel room with Luke and Savannah after the first leg of our journey. It was a blast! We ate treats in bed and watched National Treasure. These two are so much fun to be with and they are SO sweet and funny. I love being Aunt Debra. 
 See... told ya... treats. :)
 Speakin of treats... we had more in the car. 
 But I obviously wasn't complaining. Daniel and Darla were great to travel with. They are full of laughs, wisdom and great advice. Our good convos in the car made the trip go by purdy darn fast.

We made it to Kansas City in time for dinner on our 2nd day of travel! Woohoo! It was so great to see Ben, Sara (another sister) and their kids. We had SO many adventures... here are just a few...
 What's a family vacay without a little Costco time? 
 We swam in the pool every day and I LOVED it. This is what summer is all about, people.
 And of course... an all-you-can-eat buffet is a definite. Will you just look at that?!
 Scott is the oldest nephew in the fam and he's just growing up so fast. Such a good kid. It seems like yesterday that he was my royalty escort (As a 3 year old) on the Basic High School football field for the Homecoming game. Life is crazy.
We celebrated Darla's birthday in Kansas! She woke up to a breakfast in bed and a beautiful rendition of Happy Birthday To Ya.
 Everybody say 33!!!
 Sara and I were proud of our spread.
 The kids loved the celebration. Party hats and all. These 2 two year olds are just the best. Really. Brooke is the sweetest little thing and so cute. She and Caroline make a great duo.
 Sisterzzzz!!! We snuck away during nap time for a little birthday sister lunch. I'm so lucky to have such good, fun sisters who are my very best friends.
 And Feliz Cumpleanos, Darlita! We ended the night with a little birthday fiesta. The sombrero was the highlight.
 Cuddle time with Brooke. I spent one afternoon home with just Kate and Brooke while everyone was off doing other things. It was good quality girl time. We watched a movie, shared snacks and had a dance party. Kate is such a good big sister to Brooke. They are all such GOOD kids!
 Sara's kids LOVE Chipotle and I joined them for dinner there one night. And you better believe Brett ate all of that burrito. He's such a fun and charismatic little guy. He always makes me laugh.
 We ran across this little gem as we were browsing through boutiques and got the giggles. Naturally. As sisters do. I had to take a pic... Sorry for the word 'butt', mom and dad. :)
 One night before dinner, we had a spontaneous dance party. These kids were the most hard core little dancers you ever did see. I mean... just LOOK at them!
 And they were being very cooperative when Aunt Debra asked for dance poses.
 And more dance poses. :)
 So... one afternoon we decided to take Chick-fil-a up on their offer and dressed up like cows for a free meal. Moooooooo! It was hilarious. 
 And my sisters are hilarious.
 It worked! We all got free meals and some rockin cow costumes for future use. 

Our time in Kansas ended way too fast, but we were on a schedule... next stop: Detrooooooit!!!

 This is Caroline at her best on one of our pit stops. Ain't she somethin?
 And here are my Detroit girls!!! I love them so much! My time with Laura (yet another sister) and Steve was short and sweet, but they showed me a good time like always. We went swimming, running, ate thai food and watched The Bachelorette. Does life get any better?
 Kaylie is also 2 years old like Brooke and Caroline, so she is also full of spunk and personality. I had a lot of fun with her and Amber. Geez... this trip really was the best.
Laura and I read bedtime stories with Kaylie in her princess tent one night. Such a party. Squishy, but still a party nonetheless. 

I am so grateful for my wonderful family. Seriously. I think I owe a lot of my sanity and stability over the last few years to them. They have been my best friends through the hard times and continue to always lend a listening ear when I'm in need. And... we have a heck of a lot of fun together. 

So... I flew back to the NYC after Detroit and got back to reality.

See? So back to reality. Just wanted to document a run along the Hudson River one day. And yes... I know. This should be my new headshot. #superattractive
If there is one thing I'll miss about Manhattan (If I leave someday... this is no announcement), it will be the many running trails to choose from. Just look at that view!
And back to reality also means fun nights on the town with this guy. See the Freedom Tower in the background? Yeah - I live here. We went to dinner at a fun restaurant called Ninja this night. And all the waiters there are... wait for it... ninjas. They scared the livin daylights outta me every time they came to our table. But they lit our food on fire too so I forgave them.

And... the adventure continues...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

There... and back again!

(Sigh) Oh... home sweet home. This post is gonna be a re-cap of my trip home for Skymanda's weddin and Brendan's first trip to Utah. It couldn't have been better! I had so much fun and it was so wonderful to be with my WHOLE family! That doesn't happen super often. Anyway - here we gooooooooo....
 Lots of pool parties were had with the grandkids! I LOVED being in the dry Vegas heat. I know, I know... you must think I'm cray cray. But it just means home to me, so there. I love it.
 The big weddin' day was a HUGE success! Seriously. It couldn't have gone better. I'm glad I flew to Vegas a few days before the actual wedding day cuz I got to help out with a lot of the planning and preparation. My mom even had a "Debra To Do" list waiting for me when I got there. My favorite job, however, was being in charge of the bride's do! I love the above pic because it encompasses so much of the pre-wedding happenings. Sisters and nieces getting all ready together in one bathroom, mom checking in on us making sure we're all awake, hairdresser/photog looking her best, and nervous bride! :) 
 They did it! It's too late now, Skylar... :) We thought we were so funny with our pre-wedding 'it's not too late' comments.
The luncheon was delish - Cafe Rio was had by all! And just look at that booootiful bride...
 We had a gorgeous reception in my parent's backyard, which was a lot of fun. Best part: lots of leftover food! Including the yummy wedding cake that my mom baked herself!
 Aren't those lights amazing?!?! That was my dad's masterpiece. It was more than perfect. I loved the moment when all the guests were gone and all the family first let out a sigh of relief and then pounded a few brownies all together. All the grandkids jumped in the pool for some night-swimming and the rest of us just vegged for a minute.
 Kyrsten and her new hubbie were there! I love this girl. Definitely a good, good friend. Ashley and Blake came too! It was so fun to catch up and share some laughs with them... they are basically part of the fam.
 The tail end of the daddy/daughter dance.
 And then... once the wedding was over... the REAL party began. :) All the boys went to the lake the next day while the girls had some memorable bonding time. We also went to the strip a couple nights later and showed Brendan the fountains at Bellagio.
And we enjoyed a yummy dinner on the strip with the happy newlyweds. It was an amazing time. Viva Las Vegas!!! And then... it was off to Utah for Brendan and I...
 We started off by showing up for this little guy's tee-ball game. Darren's kids are such little athletes and I'm glad we got to cheer for both Tyler and Jake during the week.
 Now aint that just gorgeous?! Brendan couldn't believe how big the Salt Lake Temple was. I mean, it's pretty shocking compared to our little Manhattan temple/church shoebox. :)
We rode the ski lift at Sundance with Janae and Dane! Definitely a highlight... no pun intended.
And what is a trip to Utah without some shaved ice?! Mmm mmm... delish! We also toured BYU campus, ate at MANY special Utah places like Tucanos, Chef's Table, Zupas...etc... and we saw 2 Hale Centre Theatre shows! We packed it all in and Brendan loved it all. I'm so glad he got to see what the Utah mormon world is all about. 

And then... it was back home to the NYC...
 More girl's nights! Nikki, Abby and Nicole... with our somewhat healthy snacks! Oh - and Olive, of course. How could I forget. :)
 They had a YSA beach party last Saturday and it was a rousin' good time. Free sandwiches, big waves, and some really great sun. I loved every minute of it.
Just look at them beach babes!
Me, Abby and Kristy... werrrkin it.
 And I had a fun surprise come my way this past weekend! My sister from another mister, Ashley, came to visit from DC! She and her friend Matt stayed with me for a couple nights and it was the best. I love her so much and really appreciated the good chats and the laughs. I always laugh so hard with this one. Tears were literally streaming down my face at one point. I miss her already.
 Brendan and I saw Nikki in one of her concerts a couple weeks ago. It was fun to support her and see her do her thang. She's a great roomie and I'm so glad I decided to move in with her! 

And just for good measure, here's a parting gift for you...
You're welcome. Yes, this is a real thing and no, it's not an over-sized rat. It is a hairless cat owned by Carolyn's roommate. Weird, riiiiiiiight?!? Cats just shouldn't be naked so we have a few running jokes about what kind of outfit would look best on this little jewel. I'm still voting for the velvet unitard. But the top hat and sequined vest duo is a close second.

HAPPY 4th of JULY, everybody!!!!