Monday, November 29, 2010

An Altom Thanksgiving

Usually Thanksgiving means a lot of food and a lot of family. This year Thanksgiving consisted of  a lot of food and just our little family. It was a tad different not being with family this Thanksgiving, but Todd and I enjoyed just being with each other. The beginning of the week, I got sick with the flu (sympathy pain for Gus). On Tuesday Gus and and I just slept and I'm sure we looked pretty pathetic what with Gus wearing his "cone of shame" and me stuffing tissues up my nose. I was worried that I wouldn't be good enough to go to the Macy's Day Parade, but fate was on my side and I felt good enough to go. Since this may be our only chance to go to the parade, we had to take advantage of it. We left our apartment around 6am, got some hot chocolate at Dunkin donuts and braved the subway system. We met a nice family from... Michigan... yep that's it. They asked us for any tips but we told them this was our first year doing this too. We gave them our two cents and I guess they trusted us enough so they stuck with us for a bit. Our way of getting to the parade worked very well, it wasn't crowded at all. Even though the parade is a lot more entertaining by Macy's, it's also more crazy and very long, so we decided to watch the parade from where it started, making our wait only 1 and half hours instead of 3+. We somehow lost our Michigan friends (imagine that) so hopefully they got a good spot and enjoyed it. Now, I'm not bitter at all, but I'm just letting it be known that if Todd would have listened to me, we would have had great spots (third row) but Todd thought for sure we could find an even better spot. We ran around trying to find that "better spot" and by the time we realized that it didn't exist, all the good spots I suggested were gone... not bitter though:). The spot we finally picked wasn't to bad though. We were further back but we had a cop car in front of us. That meant that there was no one in front of us really making our view hard and it provided heat. The parade was a lot of fun; the balloons were huge!! I started getting more sick during the parade and we even considered leaving early (and Todd was falling asleep standing up) but I really wanted to see Santa (I know, I'm like five years old). Finally we saw Santa's float and Santa himself, we took a picture and booked it out of there. We wanted to miss crowds so we ran like a hundred blocks (not really but when your sick and out of shape, it sure feels like a hundred blocks). We made it back home by 11:30am... not bad. As fun as it was to go to the parade in person, I think Todd and I would agree that sitting in your pjs, eating a yummy breakfast and watching the parade from the comfort of your couch is just as good! I'm glad we did it, now we don't need to worry about doing it again:).
Todd patiently waiting for the parade to start (oh we played Heart's online and in one game, Todd shot for the moon and I did it twice:), yeah that's right, I won!)

Me staying warm by the cop car (don't mind the no make up and big bags)

Us at the Parade... scary picture of me but it's the only one with both of us (why do guys always look good even if they get up way early?)

The pictures are a little grainy, not sure why (although we did just use our IPhones)


Since we had no family this year, I had to do the whole Thanksgiving meal. It wasn't to bad but we kept running out of bowls to make stuff in and I wanted to make sure everything was done at the same time, but that was hard with limited space and supplies. In the end though, Todd and I had a very yummy Thanksgiving meal. We were very thankful to be eating such a good and big meal, thankful to be together and to have this opportunity to be out east. It seems we have been stressing a lot about things and it is always nice to have a day to really remember how truly blessed and lucky we are. Gus also got a turkey meal and with all this tryptophan in our system we all crashed. We all slept for a good two and a half hours... Gus even slept longer.

Our beautiful table setting... spent a lot of money and time on this one;)

 This is pumpkin cream pie. So for Todd and I's first Thanksgiving together, I wanted to make him a pumpkin pie (along with making it for my family). I spent forever one evening make pie and cookies. I had never made a pie before (well one that requires cooking) so I didn't really know what I was doing. Well, to put it kindly, my pie sucked! Todd was kind of a sport about it... kind of. The outside was burnt and the inside wasn't cooked. Since then, when I say I want to try again at making a pumpkin pie, Todd always suggest just buying one instead. When Mark and Debbie were out here, the boys brought home a pumpkin cream pie; Todd loved it and proclaimed "Ashleigh, I think I could trust you with making this pie." Ah gee thanks Todd. This Thanksgiving I made this pie and a chocolate cream pie for me. I think I pulled the pumpkin pie off... although Todd hasn't gobbled it down like the last pumpkin cream pie he had but he said it was amazing. My chocolate cream pie was wonderful though and it's all gone:).

Friday Todd and I went and saw "Tangled", very cute and fun movie. We also did a little bit of Christmas shopping but we aren't a black friday kind of family. Saturday we watched "The Game" and put up our Christmas tree and watched it snow:)

Saturday night I got sick again... goody and I am still sick now. Tomorrow is the "Lighting of the Tree at Rockefeller." We had always planned on going but as it gets closer and I'm sick, it doesn't sound fun to stand outside for 8hours with a dog just so we can get a good spot. If we don't go, I think we will at least see if we can walk by it as it is lit but everything I read online says that area is crazy, crazy busy that day. We shall see how determined I feel tomorrow and see if I can fight off this cold. Well it seems that I have made this post super long so I guess I shall end for now. We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and we are very thankful for all of you in our life!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ashleigh's 23rd Birthday

Yes, that's right world, I am 23 years old... and almost a week. It's strange to be at this age, it came so fast. Anywho, my 23rd birthday was basically amazing. The night before my birthday, Brian and Shelly were still here, so we went to my favorite restaurant for dinner... TGI Fridays:). My meal was amazing as usually and I think everyone else was pleased with theirs... but who really cares, it was my birthday;). Brian and Shelly also treated me to another Carlo's Bakery cupcake... YUM! The day of my birthday Todd and I went to the Statue of Liberty. Now if you remember awhile back, I posted about our first attempt at visiting Lady Liberty; it didn't go so well, but it did prepare us for this trip. We bought tickets for the crown in September and we knew exactly where to go this time. We thought it wouldn't be very busy, and it probably wasn't at all busy compared to other days, but we did have the pleasure of being there with a bunch of school field trip kids (pretty darn cool school trip). We first stopped at Ellis Island. I found a lot of "Daltons" and a lot of "Girards" (my mom's maiden name... funny story... so my great grandpa hated dotting the "i" in his last name so he change the spelling to "Gerard"... kinda made family history difficult but totally something my family would do). I don't know if any of them are related to me, but I'll just pretend because it makes Ellis Island cooler. The Statue of Liberty was a lot neater than I thought it would be. We, however, were not informed of the fact that we had to climb the dang thing... this is a modern marvel... elevators? It wasn't as bad as I make it out to be, I just don't like to move if I don't have to:). We got to the point where the staircase was a spiral and very small... it kind of made me sick but that too, didn't last long. The crown is very small, not a lot of people can fit in it but it has some great views. I forgot to mention that the day we went had wind advisories the whole day. It was sooooo windy. Now I'm from Idaho and I lived in Rexburg so I know wind, but man oh man it was windy... I seriously thought at some points we would fly away. This wind made the statue very wabally but the park ranger kept reminding us that the statue is very safe. I don't know if many people know, but I love history. I love learning about things from the past and stories behind everything. We spent a good 20 minutes up there asking the park ranger questions about everything; it was a fun history lesson. After the crown we went to the observation decks... holy cow... WINDY!!! The observation decks aren't very big so we shared this wonderful experience with cursing teenagers who thought they were going to die. We might have spent a longer time out there but I was kinda scared I would lose our camera. We made our way out of the statue and took some pictures at the bottom. I lost our camera lens cover!! It was completely on the camera and then all the sudden it dropped and started rolling away. I chased it like a mad woman but I guess the cover wanted to be with the ocean... dang it.

That evening Todd took me to see "The Lion King." There were two shows I wanted to see while we were here, "Wicked" and "The Lion King." I am so happy that we were not disappointed with either show. "The Lion King" was amazing!!!! The costumes were incredible and so were the set designs. The audience kept cheering just for the costumes and the set... we also cheered for the acting but, wow... it was such a pleasure to watch. I'm also a sucker for anything Disney and "The Lion King" has always been one of my favorite movies so that helped. We also had amazing seats. We were on the balcony, second row so nothing was in our viewing way and I think it allowed us to see everything much better and closer up. After the show we went back to our apartment and had chocolate cake; a perfect ending to a perfect day! Thanks for all of your birthday wishes and love. Thanks Todd for being my bestest best friend and sharing the day with me!!

An Altom Extravaganza!

It's very funny to say that I am behind on blogging... a whole week behind, can you believe it... me, behind... ya'd think I'd have something better to do but alas, nope, I've just been to lazy to blog. First off, a special shout out to Gus, who sadly is getting/is neutered. Poor guy, he didn't even know what was coming. If fills so lonely without him. I hope he recovers fast so he is back to his weird, happy self.

This last, last weekend, Brian and Shelly came out. We had a great time with them and I hope they had a good time here. We did a lot of the same stuff that we have already done (but don't mind doing at all again) but we also went to two new places... Carlo's Bakery and Max Brenner. We went to Carlo's right when it opened to try and avoid lines, and it worked. I just got a cupcake but it was yummy. The day before my birthday we went to Max Brenner. If you have never heard of it, it is a chocolate dessert factory... OHHHHH SO GOOD!!! I got a warm, fudge filled cake (same concepts and Molten Chocolate Cake at Chilies, but so much better). Not only did I get the cake but it came with ice cream, a small chocolate shake and a cup of hot chocolate fudge. Yes, I was in heaven, and yes it was amazing. Well that's all the new things we did with Brian and Shelly but here are some other things we did:

Central Park

Serendipity (it was all decked out in Christmas decor)

 Second attempt at the picture... better but not we were leaving I saw some couple dressed up like the picture... copiers... better copiers...

M&M World and the Disney Store in Times Square... this is really the only picture we got of all of us... well kinda, just pretend Todd is the green M&M

Thanks for coming Brian and Shelly! We had a great time, love ya both!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Dixon Weekend

This past weekend we had the opportunity to play with Eric and Jentry Dixon. They arrived early Friday morning but with a quick nap they were ready to go... non stop... for the whole weekend. The first day we headed to lower Manhattan area where we went to the 9/11 Memorial and rode the Staten Island Ferry.

After that we were cold and hungry so we headed to Little Italy where we had a very yummy lunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping. So before we moved out here, I of course did my research and found there was a great little pizza place called "Grimaldi's." Apparently it is great because so many people told us to go there and we finally got the opportunity to go. It's in Brooklyn, close to the bridge (which we walked a second time). There was a line, like everyone says there usually is, but we got in after a 15 min wait. Todd then proceeded to break a plate... sigh, can't take that kid anywhere. Now I'm more of a thicker crust kind of gal but this pizza was delicious and the atmosphere was wonderful. If you have ever seen "Return to Me" it has the same fill (minus the Irish part) but a lot more cramped, but wonderful music is blaring and people are having a good time.
View from Brooklyn bridge
The only picture we got of all four of us... the middle guy owns Grimaldi's, at least I think
The next day was so fun. To sum it up it was 5th avenue and Central Park (what more do I need). One of the first places we went to was "Tiffany & Co." We couldn't afford anything on the first floor, but we did see the Tiffany Diamond... Amazing.
My hand compared to the diamond. Only two people have ever worn it, Audrey Hepburn and some other person
We already had what was on the second floor (engagement rings... to bad) and we didn't want anything on the fourth floor (home goods... it's hard to buy stuff for a home when you don't have it), so that left us with the third floor. The third floor was suppose to be the cheaper floor, and it was, but still a little out of my price rang... unless I wanted a charm but I've never been into charms. I of course found a bunch of things I wanted but we (I mean Todd) wasn't willing to pay $600 for a bracelet that I could probably get at "Main Street Diamonds" (Todd's old job) for probably a 1/4 of the price... but I wanted a box!!! Oh well. If diamonds are a girl's best friend, then toys are my second best friend. We then went to FAO Schwarz, I'm pretty sure it was our third or forth time there. I love that store... I need a kid then Todd would let me get all that stuff. We played on the "Big" piano and I dreamed of kid's rooms and playrooms.

So if you people don't know, Central Park is by far my favorite place in NYC. I could go there all the time and be completely content. Eric and Jen did a bike tour of the park and Todd and I went to a dog run to let Gus play. Dog people have this bond, when you see another person with a dog, you instantly become friends. Gus played and we talked for a whole hour with complete strangers. It's kind of funny, you always learn the dog's name and all about the dog but never the owner. But people are starting to think we actually live here... which we do but you know what I mean. Once we met back up with the Dixons', we went and rode the Carousal in Central Park (I think Carousals are magically).

After the park we did more shopping (more just browsing I should say on our part). We then headed to Time Square to find a place to eat. We had a great time all weekend but I have to say that dinner that night was hilarious; we had such a good time.

I wanted to reenact the picture on the left... I should've looked at it before we took the picture, good thing I have another month and a half to get it right...

Eric and Jentry... CUTE couple!
And Gus was with us the whole weekend:)
After Saturday our adventures ended with the Dixons' due to church and Todd's work, but we had a wonderful time with them. They left us Monday and Gus misses Jen:). We were glad we were able to spend some time with them and we hope to make this getting together a yearly thing. Next weekend Brian and Shelly come in... stay tuned.

p.s. Todd and I are now primary teachers to the older kids... Primary is hilarious, I miss kids, so it has been wonderful to be with them once a week. Favorite things that have happened: sunbeam talking to the pregnant music lady "You haven't popped out that baby yet?"and Little boy saying the closing prayer the Sunday after the ward Halloween party "thank you that we could all wear cool customs and look scary, amen." Gotta love kids!