A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Travels

Yesterday we celebrated the marriage of two very close friends, Matt and Kristen.  You might recall that Julia was their flower girl. It was a beautiful ceremony and I am so thrilled for them!

Julia was cheesing so hard in all her pictures that her eyes were almost always closed or look closed. But man was she thrilled to be up with with Kristen!

I’m not one to really cry at wedding. But…. I nearly cried. And not at the exchanging of the vows, or the pronouncement of the couple, or even the sentimental feelings of remembering my own wedding. No, I nearly cried at the very beginning when Julia was walking down the aisle. She did an amazing job as flower girl {not being scared, dropping flowers all the way down and not making a peep}. When she first started, she looked back at me a little apprehensively, and with a reassuring nod and some encouraging “You’ve got it” she marched on down. And my heart swelled with pride and sadness. Pride that she was doing something rather brave for a 2 year old, and sadness that she’s growing up so quickly. I pray that I truly live in the moment, that I treasure this time and enjoy our time together. Because one day, she’ll be walking down the aisle, and she won’t be a little girl anymore.

{Be sure to check out my Fall Apron Giveaway!}


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I landed in New York around 11:30 pm. My plan was to take a taxi from the airport to Midtown area {about 8 miles}. When I got outside I was overwhelmed. So many people. I looked for taxis, but didn’t see any. Then I realized there was a taxi line. That made since, as there were several lines for transportation. Or so I thought. About half way down the line it dawned on me: all these people are waiting for taxis. I overheard some people saying that the front of the line {who were just about to get taxis} had waited for nearly 3 hours. Wow. Welcome to New York.

What’s a girl to? I figured if I could just get to Manhattan I could figure things out from there. So I stood in the taxi line. After 20 minutes, I saw a bus coming that read: 125th Manhattan. Do I get on? Do I wait? In the millisecond I had to ponder, I saw one person step out of line. I figured it was now or never. I ran over to the bus stop as dozens of people followed. I pushed, yes pushed, my way onto the bus. I am good to go.

Or not.

A visitor was a asking a lady {who lived in the area} how far down the bus goes into Manhattan. 125th St. Wait. I’ve know the area well enough to know 125th is Harlem. And while I have been there before, I am not sure being in Harlem, alone, at 12:30 is an experience I really want. I told the lady where I needed to go and asked what I should do. “Get off at Astoria Blvd., take the NRQ to 47th and walk from there.” The what? To where? Will I even see the train station? Is Astoria safe? Should I just take a taxi? She said she would show me where to go, but would be heading in the opposite direction, so I was on my own.

Thankfully, New York is friendly, and there were a lot of people waiting for the train, making me feel even safer. I got off at 47th at Times Square, which was an amazing first sight of the city. I walked about 2 blocks and arrived at my friend’s apartment. And so I started my New York adventure.

The best part: I had budgeted about $25-30 for a taxi, but only spent $4.50 on the bus and train together. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to take public transportation back to the airport rather than hail a taxi. A am one cool mama.

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

Visit Mrs. Sojourner at Mrs. Sojourner’s Monologues for more Thursday’s Travel Tales and Tips.

Top Ten {Tuesday} I would caution from calling myself a bibliophil these days, since reading anything beyond Curious George Goes to the Circus is pretty scarce. But this weekend gave me with lots of opportunity to read while I was traveling. The time provided me with a renewed sense of love for reading and made me recall the books that have made the biggest impression on me over the years. Here, in no real order, are my top favorite books.

1. Scarlet Pimpernel – Perhaps this is justly placed at Number 1. Scarlet Pimpernel is favorite book and has been for years. If I’m going to read, and can’t find something to hold my interest, I turn to Scarlet Pimpernel. I’ve read it at least a dozen times. {Perhaps that’s why I don’t read a lot of books – I usually re-read all my favorites.}
2. Harry Potter series – Go ahead and laugh. Or agree with me. People seems so divided on the Potter series. I started the Potter series at this crazy, painful time in my life. It was a great escape from reality and I loved it. I’ve read the last 3 books several times and while I don’t plan to re-read them before the release of the last movie, they will come out again at some point.
3. Chronicles of Narnia – I grew up reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe but it wasn’t until Jonathan bought me the series that I had read the others. Amazing. Like most people know, there is such amazing allegories through out this series that just capture me. And my overwhelming love of lions doesn’t hurt.
4. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden – A harrowing semi-autobiographical story about a teenaged girl battling schizophrenia. Haunting in many ways, this book made me walk away realizing the true struggle and battle of mental illness.
5. The Alchemist – I read this book while struggling with my faith in my last semester of college. I read it back to back in less than a month. Then I made Jonathan read it. Then our friend, then my mom. And then I re-read it. God really used the Alchemist to push me over from complacency to  desire to seek Him.
6. The Bible – Jonah – As a Christian I will say that the Bible is by far the best “book” to read. It constantly speaks to me in new ways, revealing God’s heart to me. However, over the course of the years, no book in the Bible has spoken to me more than Jonah. A constant reflection of who I am in comparison to my great and mighty God, Jonah and I are two very similar people.
7. Pride and Prejudice – I’m not one for love stories {or romances}. And if I’m going to read one, I need strong characters, nothing fruity and shallow. If you’ve ever read Pride and Prejudice {or seen the movies} you know there is nothing weak or shallow about Darcy and Elizabeth. And while my little teenaged heart use to go pitter-patter for Darcy, my woman’s heart go pitter-patter for having my own Darcy.
8. To Kill a Mockingbird – I am fairly certain it is a right of passage for all Southerners to read Harper Lee. A beautiful book about racism, seeing past skin color and the heart of the Deep South.
9. The Hiding Place – While I was introduced to Corrie ten Boom as a child, it wasn’t until I read the Hiding Place as an adult that I fully comprehended the overwhelming truths in her book.
10. A Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery series – I have slowly made my way through the first three books in this series since May. I think my willingness to already throw them into a favorite category comes from 1) my love of Austen, 2) my gratitude at the books stay so close to the true personalities of Darcy and Elizabeth. See my review here.

Visit Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

I got back from New York late last night. While I had a fabulous time away, I was ready to see my family and return to my little life. And if I wasn’t ready before I got here, having Jonathan tell me five times how happy he was I was home would have done it! And just to make sure I fully understood how much I was missed, Jack {our Golden} would not leave me alone all night. He just kept getting closer and closer to me on the bed. Then the girls this morning both did little happy dances and haven’t let me out of their sights yet!

But on to the actual trip…

New York is amazing. It is crazy and congested. You can’t stick your arm out without hitting someone and I love it. Friday I spent sightseeing with Dimple, before Shambhavi came into town. We stayed mostly in the Houston St area near Union Square. We ate brunch at this great place called Clinton Street Baking Co:

So amazing is this place that the typical wait for brunch is 2-3 hours. Hours. Since we got there late and it was a weekday, we only waited 30-45 minutes. We took advantage of the time and got to see sights like this:

{Empire State Building}

And this:

{Flat Iron Building}

Friday night we went to eat at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn. Despite the fact that this place is quite literally a dump, the pizza was amazing and lived up to the hype. We crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge to burn off all that yummy food.

Saturday we took the Sex in the City tour which was fabulous. It took us to the Meat Packing District and Greenwich Village. We got out at both places and enjoyed some pretty tasty cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, made famous because of the show {and well, their delicious cupcakes}. Saturday night we went out for Dimple’s birthday. We went to a new bar, Plunge, that is on top of Gansevoort Hotel, over looking the Hudson River in the Meat Packing District. It was breathtaking. Our second stop was later that night at one of Dimple’s favorite spots, PS450. I didn’t take many pictures on Saturday, because I was getting weary of dragging my awesome, but big, Nikon everywhere. Hopefully I will get some pictures from Dimple and Shambhavi to show you soon!

Going to New York was a total departure from reality. It was relaxing {I slept till 11 most days!}, fun and completely fancy-free. But on Sunday I was ready to for home. The trip made me even more grateful for my family and my simple little life. In the words of Juno MacGuff: “I never realize how much I like being home unless I’ve been somewhere really different for a while.”

{I wrote this post before leaving, so events may or may not take place. Be on the lookout next week for all the real action.}

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This afternoon my girlfriends and I will be taking a tour through New York. While I’ve seen the city several times, I’m really looking forward to seeing more intricate areas. We are taking the Sex in the City tour, since this was the show we all watched in college. It lasts about 3 hours and includes all the hotspots from the tv show and movies.

Tips for picking out a big city tour:

1. History – What to learn more about a city? Choose a tour that gives you the history of the city. In most of these tours, you’ll learn a lot about the buildings and the political system.

2. Fun – Been to the city before and just want a fun tour? Choose something off the wall like a Mafia tour or odd/unique residents of “____”.

3. Family friendly – Taking kids? Be sure to find a on/off tour. On/off tours allow you to get on when you like and leave when you like {just to get on again later}. They can be a little more pricey and you might miss a few city insight, but it’s very helpful when traveling with kids {especially younger ones!}.

Have you ever taken a city tour? Where? What did you like/dislike?


{I wrote this post before leaving, so events may or may not take place. Be on the lookout next week for all the real action.}

Our weekend is jammed packed with fun celebrations. Today I am relaxing with Dimple, planning some shopping and a walk through Central Park. If you’ve never been to Central Park, it’s a spectacular place. You could spend days here without seeing everything.

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Top Spots to Visit at Central Park

1. Belvedere Castle – Offering a beautiful view of the Park, this castle serves as a fully functional weather station and nature observatory.

2. Great Lawn – Perhaps the best noted feature of the Park, the Great Lawn plays host to annual concerts and performances.

3. Children’s Zoo – When our family get a chance to visit, the Zoo will be on the top of our “to-see” list.

4. Strawberry Fields –  A personal favorite, Strawberry Fields is a dedication site to the late John Lennon. The memorial site is located across the street from where John was shot and killed in 1980.

What is your “must see” of Central Park? If you’ve never been, where would you want to go?

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If there is one thing I love it is a big city. Chicago, Seattle, Boston, London, Paris. If there is one {American} city I love the most it is without doubt New York. Even as a little kid I just knew I would love New York. The people, the crowded subways, the hustle and bustle, the culture. It is an amazing city. Many years ago, Jonathan and I planned to move there. We even went so far as to check out real estate on one of our visits. But God called us to stay in Iowa {which we love and are so incredibly thankful for}. We decided that if we can’t move to New York, we needed to make sure we visited often.  We went every two years until Julia was born. Since 2007, neither of us have been back. Until now.

I leave today for New York. I’m visiting two of my girlfriends from college and another girlfriend from Iowa. I cannot wait. And yet part of me is a little nervous and sad. Aside from saying goodbye to my girls for the second time ever, I’ve travel only once to a big city without Jonathan. And never to New York without him. It’s not that I couldn’t, but I just don’t {and why would you go without your best friend?}. This is a new experience and adventure for me. One that has a bittersweetness to it. I’m looking forward so much to my time away, but I’m grateful that I can come back home to the warmth and love of my family.

Visit Jill at Diaper Diaries for more Things I Love Thursday.

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

Those were Jonathan’s words to me this weekend when I started stressing about my trip this weekend to New York. Did I tell you I was going to New York? Well, I am. And I cannot wait. Lots of plans have been made {including a bus tour of the city and a trip to Brooklyn for some pizza} and a wonderful time will be had. Yet, insecure Sarah has a slight nagging.

Will I stick out?

Will I look New York cool {’cause there is a difference from Iowa cool to New York cool}?

Will all my hip New York friends think I’m lame?

{Have I mentioned I’m still in junior high?}

As I was going through my “Will I” list, Jon stopped me and said “All you have to worry about is your purse.” He went on to say that for the 72 hours that I am gone, all I need to worry about is having my purse. Don’t worry about naptimes. Don’t worry about training. Don’t worry about sticking out. Don’t worry about being lame. Just relax and enjoy being away.

Come Thursday night my only care will be having my purse – and getting a taxi from the airport to Manhattan.

Jon and I went to Minneapolis this weekend to celebrate our five year anniversary {July 30}. We had a wonderful time {made even more relaxing knowing our girls were well taken care of – Thanks Abdos!}. I have a confession: We didn’t take as many pictures as I {pr maybe even you} might have expected. From the moment we arrived in Minneapolis, all responsibility, even photo taking, went out the window.

We started the weekend off by driving this:

2010 Chevy Camaro – Awesomeness

We stayed on the 16th floor of the Marquette in downtown. We love tall buildings and lots of crowds, so we were delighted with our view:

Minneapolis reminded us a lot of Austin. Which in of itself made us love the city. One of the coolest things we came across was public bicycles. Minneapolis has this bike rental program called Nice Ride. The idea is to rent bike for a day, month or even a year, then when you are done riding, return it. There were return kiosks all over downtown, so finding and returning the bikes were quite easy. I loved it. Although, there were times {say 5 o’clock traffic} that I was less than confident riding on the streets. But, Minneapolis is incredibly bike friendly, so after the first few minutes I realized most drivers were use to having cyclists riding along side them {not something I can say is as true here} and I stopped worry so much and went with the flow.

Our three main goals of the trip were 1) sleep in, 2) eat at a really nice restaurant, 3) plan nothing. That last one was easy. Aside from our couple’s massage on Saturday {which was as nice as it sounds} we made no plans. And while I doubted I’d be able to sleep in, I actually did. I woke up at 6:30 on Saturday, went back to bed and then got up for the day at 7:30. However, Sunday morning I slept till 8:30. I couldn’t recall sleeping that late since Julia was born. Talk about a nice way to start off your Sunday!

As for eating at a nice restaurant, we had dinner Saturday night at 112 Eatery. The atmosphere was a little louder and less romantic than I had originally wanted, but rather than sitting across for one another, Jon and I sat side by side, which actually made it more romantic. And the food? It was worth every penny. We had scallops with mushrooms, a pasta with lamb sauce and this amazing green bean and feta side dish. Oy! It was so good, I dreamed about it that night!

Here we are all dressed up for our night out:

We got home on Sunday night around 8. The Abdos weren’t home from church yet, so we were able to unpack our bags before getting the girls. I’ll admit – I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be “ready” to start being mama again. Even as we pulled into town, I kept thinking “I don’t want to go back to reality just yet”. But when we saw the Windhamettes for the first time, I was thrilled. Hannah caught us through the window and just stared in puzzlement. Once she figured out what was going on, she just started laughing. It was really sweet and made me glad to be home.

And now, as our week has started and life moves on, I can look back at a wonderful time spent alone with Jonathan and rejoice in God’s blessing in our marriage.