Jul 29, 2014

Jul 25, 2014

My First Wedding Film


Deidra+Taylor from Mimi on Vimeo.


Love this girl! So glad I got to be there for her special day!

Jul 4, 2014

#love4mia and a BIG Thank You!!

First of all I want to thank everyone who participated in #love4mia back in October.  It was so touching to receive email after email and text after text about the love that was given to others in Mia's name.  It was so touching and comforting to see the cute ideas you came up with and I can't describe how much it helped our little family seeing all the good that was done.  Her angel anniversary was an awful day, but seeing all of the good that was done definitely had a huge impact on the sadness.  Thank you!


This is not all of the photos, but I tried to compile what I could from Instagram, and texts.  I will be more vigilant this next go around.  We decided that we want to do #love4mia on her birthday and her angel anniversary.  July 8th and October 8th.  Mia would be six in a few days, and I can't believe this is the second birthday we will celebrate her life with out her.  Even typing that... saying it out loud... is painful.  Somedays we're ok, and we are able to put one foot in front of the other and somedays the grief is so overwhelming that I don't see the how I will survive the next 40 years without her.  Grief tends to whip you around without warning.  Just when you think you might be OK, you find yourself back at the day you had to say goodbye.

Lighting the candles on a cake for her last year was awful. No parent should have to do that!!  Living without her often feels like I'm pretending my life.  That my life will not be authentic until I can have her back.  This is how I survive.  I'm working on truly living again, but it's difficult.  She brought so much light to all that knew her and to many that had never met her.  We hope that she can continue to shine and that we can keep that light glowing.  #love4mia is a way to keep her memory and her light going... it keeps her light alive in our hearts and people that did not know about her precious life will become the recipients of love and goodness.

If you need some ideas on what to do for #love4mia here are some ideas from what was done on the anniversary of her returning to heaven.  I don't want anyone to feel like they need to spend money to participate in #love4mia.  Simple acts of service, spreading love, and making someones day in honor of Mia is the main goal.  In a way it is the love she would have shown to others, but we get to do it for her... especially on July 8th and October 8th.

I know I am missing some ideas, and I apologize if you do not see your #love4mia on the list. This is mostly to give ideas for next Tuesday. :-)

Wrote letters expressing love to people in your life. 
Handed out Target gift cards at Target checkout
Donated money for soldiers' funerals
Paid for other peoples groceries at Walmart
Sent a single mother and her children to Disneyland - Woah mama!
Paid for four co-pays at the doctors office
Paid for the car behind and the car behind them in a drive up (there were a few of these) 
Visited Primary Childrens hospital and dropped off receiving blankets
Made activity kits for children in the hospital
Took trash out for neighbors
Fed the missionaries dinner
Made homemade bread and delivered to neighbors
Delivered homemade cookies to missionaries
Put gift cards in mailboxes around town
Purchased clothes for someone in need
Made blankets to donate
Taped dollar bills to toys in the dollar store
Returned all the carts in a parking lot to the store
Delivered plates of treats to neighbors
Donated money to charity
Took care of someone who was sick
Paid medical bills for a family
Left behind a gift card for the next person in line
Donated hair to Locks of Love
Held a family gathering to remember Mia
Made Mia stickers for cars
Provided dental services 
Purchased drinks for everyone in line 
Took flowers to the teachers at school
Donated prizes to the lab at Primary Children's
Delivered cookies - (lots of cookie deliveries) 
Placed flowers on graves at local cemetery
Helped reconnect two family members
Raked leaves for a neighbor
Dedicated a cross fit work out to Mia
Handed out quarters for vending machines
Picked apples
Tended children 
Said hello to everyone they saw that day
Weeded for neighbor
Visited a local rest home
Paid for the next table's food at a restaurant
Delivered pizza
Donated Minnie Mouses to the children's hospital
Dropped off goodies to neighbors
Volunteered at a school
Delivered baskets of goodies to strangers
Mailbox treats


John boy and I handed out gift cards, new shirts and towels to the homeless, 
dropped off Mia's favorite toys to the women and children's shelter, and handed out some of Mia's favorite toys on the beach to children.  It made our hearts happy!

On Mia's angel anniversary I received an email from a friend who has a daughter who also had a heart transplant.  Although it was not a #love4mia act of love, it was so touching to receive on that day I have to include it.  Her daughter gifted her Make-A-Wish gift to her donor's family.  Instead of receiving a wish her self, now the donor's family will enjoy a wish from Make-A-Wish.  This has never been done before in this state, and such a beautiful thing to do for the family that gave you a second chance at life. It was so touching and I immediately thought of how different my life might be if I had done the same thing.  I love this and I love the family that sent me this message on her angel anniversary.   

Just typing up this list I am overwhelmed at the service that was done.  I had a few people contact me who were recipients and their reactions to #love4mia  made me cry.  I am so glad that so many love little Mia, and so many lives were benefited.  Thank you so so so much.  I can't even describe how grateful I am to all of you who participated. Thank you thank you thank you.  
My heart is full of gratitude.  I love her and all of you for loving her!





If you want to spread the word about #love4mia, here is a picture you are more than welcome to use.  You are also welcome to tag me in the #love4mia service that you do on Instagram or Facebook.  I would love to see all of the #love4mia service.  I created this in rhonnafarrer's app.  It's the best!

@mimimcdonald
#love4mia


If you want to print some of these to attach to your #love4mia love, please feel free.  Last year a few of my friends made their own, which I love love love too.  








Apr 1, 2014

Sam turns 4!


This little crazy man is 4 years old today.  April Fools day is very fitting a day for him to be born.  He is a goof ball and loves his 4 year old version of playing jokes.


There are so many things about this little man that make me so happy.  He is the happiest, goofiest, most darling little boy.  I love him to pieces and sometimes I feel as though he is magic because of how much he fills my heart with happiness.  He is a affectionate and sweet and is the very best band-aid for this mama heart.  I was tickling him in this picture and his hands are the CUTEST!



Our morning routine consists of a mommy/sammy snuggle.  My favorite things about the snuggle is he always wants to snuggle longer.  He says, "just a couple more minutes" to which I can't refuse.  He makes happy little snuggle noises.  He is so affectionate and is free with his kisses and he tells me how much he loves me.  He says, "how much I love you?"  To which I say "sooo much."  I always tell him, "Sammy?  how much I love?"  He says "soooo much."  We just go back and forth like this.  It's kind of the best thing in my life.  Sometimes he will just come up to me and say, "mommy, I love you sooo much."  He is so sweet to me and I'm a lucky mama that I have my Sam. 


Sam considers each meal a time to hand pick who he will sit by.  It is usually me, because he knows I will help him.  He also likes me to feed him.... sooo there's that.  
Somethings he eats on his own, but if it is a lettuce wrap (we eat these a lot lately) or something in a bun or a taco I have to feed it to him.  If the meal can "fall out" then he wants me to give him his bites. 
He always wants to say the prayer... at every meal.  He always prays for his Mia.  It is so sweet that my kids pray for her!!  Some prayers are more reverent that others.  Often while he prays he will switch into list / nonchalant praying.  He will say, "and today I hit my head on the counter and I don't like the counter any more..."  or "we are going to eat chicken, bread, that, and those, and the milk."  He just doesn't want to leave out anything from his day or what's on the table.  When he is finally done praying he will yell AMEN! This is something Mia did, so we don't correct him.   


He is really into showing me things... and showing off.  
The other day he completely dresses himself (and did a great job) and ran into my room and yelled, "TA DA!"  Then immediately started doing a victory dance.  I just looked at him and wanted to freeze him in time.  Maybe it's not a big deal for a three year old to dress themselves completely, but I kind of baby this one... so it was a big deal for us.  He was so proud and has done it a few times since. 

He loves to show me his abilities. 
Every day he shows me how high he can jump, how fast he can run, and the boy has some pretty fantastic dancing skills.  Some of these can be seen on my instagram account.  If you want to see the latest dance moves and have insta... my user name is @mimimcdonald

We have a massage table permanently set up in our master bedroom... I just never break it down, and there is plenty of space so it stays up.  Sam "launches" from the massage table to the bed and back.  He launches at least twenty times a day.  It just doesn't get old for him.  He will say, "woah... mom... did you see that launch?"  He wants a captive audience while he demonstrates his launches.  He even does a countdown with a blastoff.  

He is definitely in the do it myself / watch me do this / can I try phase. 
Luckily, Sam lives with four people that over celebrate every move he makes.  Ellie is his biggest cheerleader by far.  She will basically lose her mind with excitement when Sam does any kind of performing for her.  It's is darling to watch.  We used to have dance parties right before bed (back when Mia was here with us)  it seemed pointless to try and go back to that life.  
The last couple of months the dance part has returned... and Sammy is our main attraction.  We all dance, but in the end we all end up watching him go to town.  John and I laugh so hard watching him that I wind up in a coughing fit.  His little dance moves are hilarious and they are definitely not from watching us.  Many of the dance party songs are per Sam's request.  He usually says, now let's dance to: "blue eye song."  He is a huge fan of pentatonix especially this one.  He calls it blue eye song.  His other personal favorite is: "little bit longer." The song is, Ways to go... but Sam calls it "little bit longer." He loves it. 

He also negotiates staying up.  "last song dad!  last song."  
He entertains us so much that he always gets a last song.  
John has to now give him a count down of how many songs he has left. 


Because he is at the same developmental age as Mia sometimes I hear him downstairs interacting with Jense and Ells and if I close my eyes I transport back to when we had her.  His little voice is so similar and he now uses a lot of Miaisms.  When I hear him say, "just a minute" or "I'm coming" or "wait for me" or sometimes when he screams it sounds like Mia's happy screams.  If I am not in the room and I hear his voice, often times my heart jumps in my chest because for a tiny moment I am reminded of her sweet little voice.  It's an instant feeling of how much I miss and need her.  Sammy is now four.  I wish so badly that I had my little, would be five now, here with him.  When we go visit the cemetery, sometimes when Sam gets out of the car he will sprint over to Mia's site and yell, "Miiiiiaaaaa!"  Sometimes I wonder if he sees her over there.  

He talks about her often and still asks when she is coming home.  He does know that Mia is with Jesus, but he still believes she is getting fixed and will be back.  He misses her so much and witnessing him wait for her sucks the air out of my lungs.  I just want him to (and all of us) to have her back.  He loves her so much and talks about her every single day. 


Sam is an easy kiddo.  He mostly makes us laugh and melts our hearts on a daily basis.  
He has his moments of being the youngest child and knowing if he fusses about something he will get it.  Jense and Ells treat him like the baby and pretty much are at his beck and call, but sometimes it backfires.  I would say that we are all creating a monster, but he is too sweet and endearing to be a monster. 


He says the goofiest things ALLLL the time. Of course I don't write them down, but here are  few:
The other day it was really windy and the trees behind the house were moving around a lot.  He ran in and said, "MOM!  The trees are really afraid out there.... we should let them come in the house." 
I love that he used the term "afraid."

He has renamed water "speed."  He will tell me pretty much everyday that he needs more speed. When he is thirsty he asks for speed.  It's adorable.  Sometimes after drinking a big glass of water which by the way he can drink more than me, he will say, "Ahhh, my speed." or "I need more speed."  
NO idea where this came from, but I love it!

A few weeks ago he tried to convince me whey he couldn't go to church.  He said, " Mom, I can't go to church!  My heart is frozen.... when your heart is frozen you can't go to church." 
We had quite the conversation about frozen hearts.

Sam sometimes will ask me if it's his lucky day.  I guess he is used to me saying "today is your lucky day." So now he just asks.  Every time he asks if it's his lucky day I reply with an enthusiastic "YES!"

He often negotiates if and how many treats he can have.  If he finds a treat in his brother's treat box (Jense is a saver) or there is something yummy to be had, he will bring it to me and say, "mama... can I see what this tastes like?" or "can I give this one a try?"  I don't know how he knows to ask so endearingly... but his mama can't refuse.  

He uses the word suppose and supposedly. It KILLS me every time.  I die.  
He pronounces it "supposebly."  I can't get enough. 
He will say, " mom, I want chip and chee today... I suppose."  He just tacks it on and my heart bursts. 

He loves to do countdowns, "How many days until.... " "How many minutes until....."  "How many sleeps until...."  He is my countdown boy. 

He came in with a stick telling me that it was his magic wand.  He pointed it at me and told me he is going to cast a spell on me.  He waved it around and turned me into a few choice animals. 

He calls toast: 
"bread with sticky"  or "bread with red"  
stick=honey red=jam

He loves toast!  he could live on bread with sticky and "speed" and be a happy boy.  

There are so many more things- every birthday post I resolve to start writing them down.  
This year is no different. :-/



One thing I must note about this boy- He loves brown bear.  LOVES IT!  He talks about it everyday.  Brown Bear is basically sardines in the dark.  He is always teamed with John or myself, and he just can't get enough.  If there is one thing to summarize this year it is the year of brown bear.  He is also all about minecraft.  We have to limit his minecraft playing.  He is so little and can build worlds with his brothers and some of me is amazed that he is so good at it, but mostly I don't like.  If he didn't want to play it as much as he does it wouldn't be a love/hate.  When he is not playing minecraft, much of his dramatic play includes "building his house."  He builds houses with dishes, sticks, rocks.  When he types on a keyboard protector he claims he is building a house.  It is super sweet!  He is really excited about his new house.  So is his mommy.

So glad I have these pictures of me and Sam. Thank you so much photographybymckenzie for taking them!!


Every time I ask sammer for a smooch he delivers.  
We call them "Sammy kisses"
I am extremely grateful I have Sam.  He truly fills my heart and I know he was 100% meant for me.  His fun personality is hilarious and I just adore him. 


Happy birthday to my crazy dancing, brown bear enthusiast, tractor riding, sandwich eating, minecraft playing, speed drinking, fast running, story telling, Mia missing, mama kissing, bike riding, go cart riding, cooking video helping, sweet and happy through and through little boy!  I love you so much Sammer Jam!

*Monster Party post coming soon... or not.  I can't believe the last post is Ells birthday post.  
Life just sped up.

Feb 23, 2014

My 9 year old Ellie


Valentines Day is always special because it is my little girls birthday. 
If you are going to be born on a holiday, she sure picked a great one.  She is my original little heart girl.
When Mia came along I got to have two heart girls. 
I love her... all of her. 


Ellie is the most giving child.  She gives away her best things, and wants everyone around her to be happy and have whatever there is to be had. 

For example.  Sammers was sharing his candy the other day with his cousins.  I kept telling him to give some to Ellie because she didn't have any yet.  Every time he passed a candy to her she immediately gave it to her little cousins.  When I asked her if she wanted one for her she said, "yeah... but I want them to have them more."  This is an example from this week, but there are countless examples of this girl having a heart of gold.  She is a pleaser and gets her fulfillment by making others happy.  I try to teach her that it is OK to enjoy things herself, but she truly loves giving and doesn't mind sacrificing for others.  She is beyond her years in this regard. 


She is nurturing and caring to all people younger than her. 
Ellie has always been a little mommy.  
If you remember back to her infatuation with Mia even before she was born, if not you can read about it HERE. 
That post was back in 2008... makes my heart hurt to read.
Ells still has an unprecedented baby radar.    
If there is a baby in sight she wants that baby.  She will forget about whatever activity is happening to have the baby in her arms.  She love love loves babies and is such a little caretaker of all toddlers.  I often get comments about how other moms wish they had her help at home.  She really is up for any task when it comes to taking care of babies.  She has been my best helper with Mia and Sam. 

Her biggest sorrow in life is not having her sister here. 
Ellie doted over Mia her entire life.  She had the purest love for her baby sis.  It is a love that I have not seen ever before.  She ushered her around and filled her life with everything she thought would make her happy.  It was my blessing to watch it, and felt so much joy that they were my girls. 

Now she often asks me what I think Mia is doing, and what she looks like.  She really wants to see a picture of Mia in Heaven.  She just wants to know so badly what she looks like now.  Sweet girl!

My heart broke again on her birthday when Mia was not there to blow out Ellie's candles.  
Ellie always insisted on Mia blowing out her candles.  Ellie was truly the best sister to Mia and treated her like royalty.  There is a huge void there, and she expresses sadness almost every night when it's time to go to bed.  She misses her sister so much.  Mia was Ellie's world... 

Ellie asks me often if I can have another baby... it's a reoccurring topic in our home. She really really wants another baby sister.  It weighs on her heart and she voices her desires often.  She used to say that she doesn't want anyone but Mia.  Now she is open to the idea of a "newborn baby."  She always says newborn... makes me laugh. 


She is one strong little girl.  
She was forced to be strong when her little sister went to heaven, but she has always shown tremendously strength.  She is also very strong willed.  If she has an idea in her head... she will make it happen.   


One of her strengths is her negotiating skills. 
If there is a job that she doesn't want to do... she has mastered the art of negotiating the jobs she does want to do.  Sometimes she stacks so many jobs up to count for the one job she doesn't like, that I can't really refuse her offer.  If her greatest challenge in life is missing her sister, then doing her jobs is the second.  She isn't a fan, but gets them done eventually. Once a month or so she will go into a cleaning frenzy and John and I wonder what has happened to our child. 


Ells has quite the appetite.  
She can eat and eat and eat. 
She is the tiniest little thing, but eats more than I do at dinner time. 
She likes to make a major production when it comes food. 
If she is going to the park to play, or to dance, or anywhere... we are often waiting on Ellie to finish preparing her snack. 

She will bring carmel with apples slices
or a bag of tortilla chips with a little tupper of green sauce, or cheeses and crackers,
or  a sandwich.  She makes a lot of sandwiches.  
She usually makes some for her siblings too.  
I find remnants of her culinary creations all the time.  In the car, on the table. 
We are really working on cleaning up after...
Sam is continuing in his sisters footsteps.  He loves to make food creations. 
Lately he has been making "cakes" just like Ellie taught him. 
You take a cookie cutter and cut out a shape of bread.  put some milk on it, and sprinkles.  
I don't know how this is good... but they like it. 



Ellie absolutely loves to cook. 
If I start cooking and it is a meal she wanted to help prepare she almost has a panic attack when I start without her.  There isn't anything she doesn't love about it.  The phrase, "What's next" is said one million times per meal.  She is generally very helpful... but always has plans to make elaborate desserts that I have to distract her from.  The strong will makes an appearance at dessert time. :-)


She is just such a little beauty- 
I love this picture of her... she is beautiful!!


Ellie is so endearing because she just loves what she loves.  
She loves any kind of kit or machine that will produce a food item. 
She got a snow cone maker in the summer, and has had little machines here are there and just loves them.  At Christmas she asked for a fortune cookie maker.  When I got to the store and saw the price for what I thought was a colossal waste of money I just couldn't do it.  I felt a little mean because she really really wanted it, but I just couldn't.  She told me again that she really wanted it for her birthday.  When I went to the store for her birthday I found it for half price.  Even though I know it will probably break after one or two uses, I got it for her.  She was so thrilled.  We have already make a cookie video with it, and if I finnish the other cooking videos someday we will post that one.  

She loves to make cooking videos.  I know someday i will be so glad I have all the footage I do of my little girl cooking away.  She loves it!
  

I truly can't believe she is 9!  In double her years she will be 18.
I just know that will not be enough time to have her with me before she goes to college.

She is a genuine sweet heart and I am so lucky to be her mom.

Happy Birthday to you my fun, crazy, extremely organized when she wants to be, non morning person, outfit coordinating, hair doing, cooking loving, brother loving, goofy, smart, adorable little Ellie. 

I love you so!!

A huge thank you to photographybymckenzie for taking these for me.  After a photo shoot with the boys we came over the ice castles and she took some birthday pictures for me, while I was doing a different photo shoot.  She is a great photographer! I lover her.  Go find her on insta. @photographybymckenzie.  She posted some funny pics of her and I recreating some pictures of our little boys.  fun fun!

Feb 17, 2014

Leesy



This pictures has been uploaded for almost a year. 
I was going to put it with a different post, but since I'm a year behind... I'll just post it already. 

This is Leesy-
I just love this girl. 

She provided a lot of sunshine for me on many a cloudy day. 
I will forever be grateful for her friendship.  

I remember when Mia mistook her for me in the hallway of church. 
I wish I could rewind to that day. 
I loved that life. 

I'm trying... truly I am... to not dismiss my future happiness as impossible compared to my previous happiness.  Most days I'm under attack with feeling as though all the best days of my life are behind me.  Mia going to Heaven so unexpectedly changed me. It changed my soul.  Leesy knows my heart and has had to snap me out of my disdain for future life happiness more than a few times.  
I don't want my future to consist of me always looking backward to feel that unbridled happiness.  There must be a way to feel that with Mia in Heaven.  
There has to be...
I just need someone to teach me that. 
While I trial and error finding my way, I'm lucky to have her! 


Feb 16, 2014

Sam and Harpie


These two little crazies had a ball most days during practice. 
Sam often took my phone to take goofy pictures of the two of them. 
I have a ridiculous amount of pictures that Sam has taken in the H.S. gym. 


Their entertainment usually involved these yellow scooters. 
and some cones... 
and often brooms... 

They kept themselves entertained, and often times provided entertainment for the girls. 



This is one of my favorite pictures. 
Sam is telling Harpie to pick one.
She is holding up one figure to confirm... and her little foot twist is beyond adorable. 


Ok, sine I have so many... one more. 

Waspettes 2013-14






Ellie loves loves loves the Waspettes.  
If she could fast forward to high school and be a Waspette I think she would do it.  
These pictures are from back in the fall when She and a girlfriend came to the game and warmed up with the girls.  I love the leg extension with her boots on.  She cracks me up. 


Sammer also gets plenty of attention from his "dance-oh's"  He loves them. 
It's pretty much the best part of his day.  
We spent the year going to the H.S. for 6th period.  
He mostly ran around with Harpie (McCalls daughter) but now that the class is over he is wondering where his dance-oh's are. 



During one of the assemblies he spotted MaeLin and Jodie... and ran to give them some love.  
They are two of my laurels. It has been fun to see them at the H.S. when I am there for drill events. 


Kiss attack. This is a common occurrence when Sam is around the girls when they are ready to perform.  He loves it.  


Getting some stretches in.  I love this picture. 
He is just such a fun kiddo to have around. He's just warming up with the 
Waspettes... getting ready for his big performance. 


Me and Kinley. She is a doll. Love her. 
I was sitting by her at dinner at one of the competitions. 
The same dinner where the majority of the girls started sining primary songs. 
It was a good night. 

The girls placed 3rd in region.. in a new 4-A region, and 9th at state.  I could not be more proud.  
they worked hard and I just love them to pieces!  

Way to go girls!

Feb 3, 2014

Jensen + Scouts + Whipped Cream


Jense is a huge fan of scouts! 
He is presenting the colors at pack meeting. 


As part of the ceremony of his advancing from Bear to Webelos he had to use his face to retrieve his award from a pile of whipped cream. He was all about it. 


Then he went straight for his dad with his hands covered in cream. 
He got him! 
I walked away quickly because I knew I was next. 

Jense is lucky because John his his Webelos leader. 
He has loved scouting this year with his dad as his leader. 


My cute little family. 
I sure wish Mia was in this picture. We miss her so much!
Jense was so proud, and still talks about this night. 
He wants to recreate the game with whipped cream. 

Sarah got all dressed up in her Swiss attire because Swiss Days was going on during pack meeting. 
She even spoke the entire time in her best Swiss accent. 


After pack meeting the family took a little spin around the church on the "mowccyco's." 
This picture makes me miss summer! 
I'm ready for the snow to leave. 


I love these little faces!
They always have helmets on, so this is a rare moment to capture their faces. 
They look so so happy... which makes me happy. 

Jan 23, 2014

Mimi in Big Apple City

I did it! I finally made it to NY!
I have wanted to go there my entire life, well since I was little at least.
My favorite movie was Strawberry Shortcake in big apple city. I watched it over and over as a child. 
A few years ago I purchased another VHS copy just in case.  
I knew someday I would make it to NY, and my time finally came. 

When your brother in law has two business conferences in New York,
you make a trip out of it. 

This is an entire week worth of pictures, a few snack breaks are necessary to make it through the entire post. 



Before we made it to New York we had a layover in Pennsylvania. 
In the craziest of coincidences my very own uncle (mom's brother) was at the airport. 
He is a pilot, so I guess the odds aren't that crazy, but I have never set foot in Pennsylvania, so I'll go ahead and count it as at least a scosh crazy. 

It was really good to see him!  I can only imagine all of the wonderful places he has been. 


Our first night consisted of airport, taxi, hotel check in, but we did walk a few blocks to a yummy sushi place.  I wanted to take a lot of food pictures, but forgot until there was one left.  I love sushi!
The spicier the better!!


It's a man hole!  The steam system in New York is fascinating to me.  I know, I know. This is probably not one of the first things I should be posting about.  First up? Steam systems.  The pictures are mostly in order... no other reason.



The Saint Patricks Cathedral was our first tourist stop.  
It was incredible. 


On the phone, and eye's closed... these two!!
I actually have a looot of pictures with closed eyes.  
I should start a collection. 
My sisters especially have a knack for closing their eyes right as the picture is taken. 
It's a trait passed directly down from my grandma. 






We took the tour and learned a lot of interesting things about the building and religion.  
I kept thinking of Mia during the explanation of St. Jude. 
The patron saint of desperate cases. 
When he was talking of St. Jude I kept thinking about my months in the hospital, and then the week in Florida.  I think desperate just scratches the surface of how I felt.  
Oh Mia, you are everywhere! My mind always turns to you. 

I would love to go back when all of the construction is finished.  
So beautiful!



This picture is for Ells.  
We have an American Girl Doll obsession at our house. 
It's what she loves. 
I didn't set foot inside of the store, because that is a recipe for disaster.  


John was drooling over this car, so I took a picture of it.  
John points out all the cool cars he sees. 
He is always schooling Jense about lamborghinis and what have you. 
I would not even have a stab at what kind of car this is... looks like a Camaro to me.  Sorry. 


Ran into Minnie and Mickey at Time's square.  
I am still very hurt when I see Minnie and Mickey anything. 
Minnie mouse paraphernalia is everywhere, and I just wish Mia would have made it to Disneyworld. 
There is a bucket of salt every time I turn around in any store these days. 
There is no escape. 

So... we'll just embrace it for now. Mia loves Minnie so I will try too. 


Carnegie Deli was a must visit according to a lot of people. 


This picture was for "weesie" because Liverwurst was on the menu.
There is a girls camp song we sang over the summer about "don't eat the liverwurst."


This drink was celery flavored.
It was disgusting.. but John loved it.


This was delicious.  I loaded on the sauerkraut and have been dreaming of it ever since.
I believe Carnegie.. I believe!


This was not bad either!



Our first show... The Jersey Boys!  Loved it!
There was a discovery made by my sister and I about "Oh what a night" which is a theme song of ours.
Once again, you never know what you didn't know until you know it.
Had no idea what that song was about... to me it's a song we sang and danced to as children.
I'm sticking with my childhood version.
That's all.



waiting for it to begin.


The set.


The shows were one of my favorite parts of New York.
We saw a couple other shows... and I'd like to see at least a dozen more.



John and Ken took so many pictures of me and my sisters that it was time for a brother's pic.
THIS is what they gave us... so... no more of THAT. :-)


Seesters at Radio City!



Selfies of Selfies.


We reenacted an affair to remember at the empire state building.  Not really, but I love that show.
I loved listening to audio tour.


The floor in the building is fantastic. Oh and there are my cute boots!


On the top! I would love to go back during the day and get some daytime photos... but this is what we got at night... with a iphone.



 New Yoooork!!  I love the glow from Time's Square.
So beautiful. 


I just can't believe how many buildings are here in one place.  It reminds me of legos.


Until next time Empire State building-


We took the subway everywhere.



There was a Bridal session at Grand Central Station.
Two photographers and to light guys... must be in New York.


Decided to goof off with a pano at Grand Central Station.
We ate some delicious Indian food there, and forgot to take a pictures.


We were in NY on the anniversary of Mia's transplant.
Such a special day for my family.
We will always love Jessica, Jacob, and this special day!


Eye's closed.  Can't resist. It is like that childhood cartoon with the pocket watch swinging back and forth and someone chanting...You are getting sleepy!


Then we retake... that's how it works!


Deciding show options


When I saw them all I could think of was: "It's the Central Park Rangers."
We are big fans of Elf.


John with the Rangers.


We stopped here for lunch.  I've only seen the show once, but my sisters have seen it.


This was my lunch.  I didn't make it all the way through it, but the peppers were the best part!


We texted this to Jense.  He was pretty excited about it.
We didn't go to the Lego exhibit, but we did see this guy made out of Lego's.


After the Bodies exhibit.  I am smiling now, but the exhibit was intense.
I never got a chance to see it when it came to Seattle.

I was especially interested in the heart.
I still can't believe that the heart not working properly can be the cause of so much emotional pain.
The human body is fascinating, but has let me down time and time again.


At the end of the Bodies Exhibit there was a large screen displaying answers from around the world to the question: Before I die I want to______.
  Many of them were inappropriate... but this one made me laugh a lot.





More Times square moments. It really must be seen in person.
The ball dropping at New Years doesn't do it justice!


It was pretty cold when we were there.  We had to get hot cocoa a time or two.  Salted Carmel hot cocoa mind you.  We just had to laugh because they spelled all of our names wrong.
Meme, Ray, and Natilie.
Close enough.


Waiting for Pippin.  Not to be confused with waiting for Guffman.
This was another fabulous show.
Loved it.



There really are a LOT of people in Time square... at all times.




Pano x 3




John bought a lot of "street meat" including this hot dog.
I was pretty impressed with the spiciness of some of the "street meat."


These masked statue of liberty people on stilts were all over NY.


Me... in the MOMA... taking in the beautiful buildings across the way.



Starry Night. 


some of the art makes me smile... like this one. 


I liked this artist.


Look closely. 



It's kind of overwhelming... there are floors ard floors of art. 
Some of the art to me... is not art. to me. 
You have to go there know what I'm talking about.
We had to take a break outside from all of the fabulous exhibits... and some very interesting, and some downright confusing pieces of art. 


Where's Nats? 


Time to cruise.
When we got on the boat the sun was setting...  but I still got some great pics.


 Can you tell how excited he is? 
and how cold? 


Despite it being frigid on the cruise, it was beautiful and I'm glad we did it.



Trying to stay warm.  It was really really cold. 














That is I... taking a little sleep at the end of the cruise. 


We had to get a taxi photo.  We should have done this during the day. 
There was one taxi driver that I loved. 
He was awesome!  
He was born there, and had really never left. 
AND, he talked like a new yorker.  bonus.
He said: "forget aboudid" a few times... which completed our New York experience. 


We went to the 9/11 memorial... this is a photo of a photo. 

Actual piece of steel that was bent from the destruction of the buildings. 


Survivor tree. 






Survior Tree... Its' so remarkable considering how close it is to the building. 
It really stands out too.  




We might have walked towards each other and both got our cameras out at the same time. 


So many things to say about visiting the memorial. 
So many lives... 
I just can't believe that so people lost so many loved ones on the same day.
Heart breaking!
I want to come back when the visitor center is open. 


Our next boat ride was to see the Statue of Liberty. 


It was also a really windy...


and freezey! 


It was a beautiful day to visit the statue.  Such beautiful blue skies and lovely clouds.



Nats, JB, and Lady Liberty


Me, JB, and Lady Liberty


Nats, Me, Rae, LL. 


Me, Nats... you get the idea.




Views from the top. 




From the pedestal looking up... on the inside. 


Her spot light.


Then, the clouds rolled in...


We also went to Ellis Island but my phone died so I don't have any pictures.
It was also fascinating... I definitely need more time there next time.



Times Square once again- at night.


The Bowns- Thanks so much uncle Ken for letting us tag along.
When is our next trip? :-)


Boots again... on the subway this time.



Our last stops were to the museums


The Met!
It was beautiful inside... 




I could have taken pictures in the Met all day long! So beautiful!



Trinidad and Tobago cuisine.  So delicious.
We took quite the cab ride to get to the restaurant... it was worth it!



My one and only picture of Central Park.


This is the end of my week in New York.
I loved it! 
I want to go again... maybe in the summer months.