Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ward Pioneer Day Party

Tonight was the ward Pioneer Day party, and it actually was a lot of fun. There's a huge pavilion and grassy area behind our stake center, and it was the perfect evening to be outside.

First they had a parade with the primary kids. Emma was having a great time watching all of them.
(This is Ammon-- he's one of my nursery buddies)

And they had a musical number before dinner. These four guys have sung in our ward a couple times-- they're amazing!
After dinner, they had some activities and a couple more musical numbers. I put together a small string group with six kids from the ward. Four of them were in my orchestra at Sunset View either last year or the year before. And Tim took some pictures so I could post them (thanks!).

It was a little stressful, but we lived :)
And then we socialized. Look Marcus, proof: (haha)
I'm glad I went. I had never really celebrated Pioneer Day before, and it was a lot of fun with such a great ward.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Albert's Drawing

While I was in New York, Marcus and I met a guy named Albert on the Brooklyn Bridge. He was selling pictures he drew, and we had to support him, which was easy to do because they were fantastic! Marcus is a sucker for things like that, which is great because I love getting drawings on trips-- I have one from Paris too. The one we bought in New York is a street Marcus walks down every day to get to work by the Empire State Building. I had it framed when I got home, and they finished it today. Marcus really wanted to see it, so I thought I'd post a few pictures for him.

its new home :)
ignore the mess please
Marcus loves his signature on the bottom. Weird?
Yay-- LOVE IT!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Red Velvet

I finally did it. Cupcakes from scratch. Not to give away all my secrets, but cake mixes really do make great cupcakes. Instead of decorating for this month's family dinner, I wanted to make a good Red Velvet cupcake (since everyone on Cupcake Wars can do that!). And I thought they were pretty good. Usually I don't really eat any, but I had two of these.

The frosting wasn't fancy or anything, but it was good.

I was a little nervous about taking them because I wasn't sure if they were good or not. Luckily I had a great taste tester.

I think she liked them :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fourth of July weekend

Maybe I should've named this post New Freaking York!!!, since that's what I've been referring to the trip as all along :) I had such a blast visiting Marcus in New York-- actually that's an understatement. I loved New York and would go back tomorrow. And don't pass it on too far, but Marcus actually admitted he likes New York too! Actually I think he said he likes New York with me there. (cute) I wasn't there even a week, but we did as much as we could physically handle to walk around and see everything. This post does contain a million pictures, so be prepared.

So Marcus works for the PR agency CooperKatz in Manhattan. He currently lives in an apartment in Woodside, which is part of Queens, with his buddy Ted, and they commute about 30 minutes to and from work. Marcus has lost whatever little bits of married fat he had from all the walking and looks great (not that I'm biased or anything). He said he likes to stop at the little stands and buy peaches, so maybe it's the lack of a real diet that helped him slim down. We definitely made up for that this weekend with so much eating I thought I'd gained like twenty pounds. But it was all so good!!! Anyway, instead of giving a play-by-play, here are the pictures, and I'll just narrate them:

This is the view of the city Marcus sees everyday from his subway station in Queens. Rough life :)
We walked into the city the way Marcus goes every day. He gets to look at some awesome(ly large) buildings :)
I made him smile by the American Eagle store downtown. I think he liked the cops standing outside chatting right behind him.
I think my favorite part was how everything actually looks like it does in all the movies!
The next day, we walked around Woodside. Marcus likes the area because it isn't quite so "big city"-- check it out, the church even is just a normal building!
There were definitely more people with cars in Queens (not just crazy taxis everywhere), but still tall apartment buildings with shops on the main floors.
This is the view of Woodside from the stairs going up to the subway.
And bam, twenty minutes later, we're at Grand Central Station!!!
Even Marcus enjoyed being an annoying tourist :)

We even found the ginormous Bed Bath & Beyond. Multiple levels, with escalators for shopping carts. What an experience!
On Sunday we went to the ward that meets in the temple building. That was pretty sweet.

The area was just so neat!

I was Marcus' good luck charm for the weekend because I don't think we ever waiting more than five minutes for the subway. And we saw two rats on the last day I was there. Not sure why that was good luck, but thought I'd share :)
We wandered around a lot while searching out great pizza places, like Mariellas. I already miss that!
And of course we walked around Central Park. I kept hoping Phoebe would be running there, but I never saw her :( The first day we went it was raining a little, but it was still amazing.

They have some crazy squirrels and pigeons in New York. We walked some pigeons fighting over bagels for... probably too long to admit.
For my birthday, even thought it is still a month away, Marcus got us tickets to see The Lion King. And it's frankly phenomenal. I've seen many shows, and that one was on a whole new level. The singing. Costumes. Everything. Marcus will tell you over and over how it's just beautiful art :) I'd go again if I could. So would he :)

Marcus' works with a lady named Rachael who lives up in Great Neck, so one night we took the Long Island Railroad out to stay at her apartment. Such a beautiful area! It was so great and cute. Very different from Manhattan. Marcus LOVED it there.

We went all out being patriotic on the 4th of July, starting with a tour of Liberty Island.

Lady Liberty herself
This is looking back at Manhattan from Liberty Island.

And we did audio tours of Ellis Island. That was incredible. We were there all day and could've stayed longer.

While we were out there, we watched the Macy's barges prepare for the FIREWORKS!
And we caught one of the last boats back to Battery Park to get ready for the evening's festivities.

As we walked around to find a place to rest our tired feet and watch the fireworks, we came across this beautiful church. Apparently it's famous and someone important is buried there, but I can't remember :/
We also walked by Ground Zero and saw the new tower they're building. Amazing. It's already over 50% finished! You can see it in some of those pictures from the boat out to see the Statue of Liberty.

We found a great bench to watch fireworks. I had fun messing with my camera and taking pictures of the Jersey side of the river.

So many boats were there for the fireworks. Now that would be an incredible way to see the show.
On my last full day in New York we went to CooperKatz to see into Marcus' business life. This is a picture of their second floor where Marcus likes to eat his lunch :)

And we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge after eating more great pizza at Grimaldi's. They cook their pizza over coal. Cool.
While walking across we met Albert, and we bought a drawing of New York he did. Best souvenir ever :) Come see it sometime, once I get it framed.

We walked through Central Park again and saw seals. Seriously.
And that's a summary of my trip. It was great being there with Marcus. Only five more weeks, and he's back for good. Thank goodness it's going by (relatively) quickly. New York was fantastic, but I can't imagine being out there alone. He's a trooper.