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Where Have We Been?

everything i've never done i want to do with you


Thanksgiving was a very special day this year. The best part of Thanksgiving for me has always been watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and this year, with Mike and I being in NYC, we made the choice to try and watch it live. Mike's parents and brother, Justin, made their way to the city the day before the parade, where we got to see some of the prep for the parade. 

We went into Macy's (where everyone else in the world seemed to be at that time), walked around the outside where the filming happens, and we made our way up some of the 5th ave shops to see the beautiful window displays.







Across the street from Rockafellar Plaza is Saks 5th ave, where they had an amazing light show on the front of the building 



Rockafellar Plaza had the Christmas tree up also, but it wasn't lit till December 1 (now that it is lit, it is on my to do list, but I haven't gotten there yet).


We had Thanksgiving dinner at our apartment in NYC with Mike's family the day before actual Thanksgiving, and although it was pretty cramped in our tiny space, it was still extremely special (and delicious!).






our contribution to dinner...a dinosaur cake!
Thanksgiving morning we woke up at around 4am to bundle up and head to the Upper West Side to stake out our parade spot.

We had originally planned to head to Columbus Circle to watch the parade since that was where our research had led us to believe was one of the best spots. We were one of the first to arrive and got a spot set up right behind the gates.

We later found out that the parade did not actually go right to this area but instead was in the distance where you could kind of see it through an opening in the circle, but since this was not what we got up at 4am for, we went on a mission for better seats. At this point, it was about 7am, so most of the right up front spots were taken unfortunately. We ended up getting a pretty decent spot right across from Tavern on the Green in Central Park (which was great for bathroom access), however, we were now much further back from the actual parade (cue a lot of pictures of me looking thoroughly unhappy)...


Once the parade actually started it wasn't so bad, other than the few people that had pushed their way in front of us that had not been waiting all morning.

It was really neat getting to see all the floats and balloons up close. They seem so big on TV and when they are right in front of you they seem to live up to their standard.

let's have a parade!





In the spot we were at, for some reason, a lot of the stilts performers kept falling. It was so hard to watch but luckily no one was hurt, and they all were pretty good sports about getting back up.
















Santa!
 Some of these balloons head to Orlando for the Macy's Christmas Parade they have at Universal Studios, which I was fortunate to be apart of about three years ago. It made me miss Orlando a bunch as well, but luckily, right after Santa came, Mike and I were off to the airport to head to Florida.

Between my sister Hilary and her husband Bridge in South Africa/ Michigan, and me on and off in Hong Kong the last few years, our family has not been able to holidays together in over five+ years. This year, since we were all going to be there for Thanksgiving, we decided to make it Thanksmas, and celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas in one weekend. First came all of our Thanksgiving traditions. We watched a bit on the parade (off Youtube since it was now Friday), we played football, we played board games, and we had a large feast (with my favorite dish, corn casserole) all at my moms house.




Christmas was celebrated on Saturday, relocating everyone to Emily and Andrew's house. Since that evening was 'Christmas Eve', we watched some Christmas movies, played some more board games, and all opened our magic gifts from 'santa', which were new, matching pajamas.







We woke up early to cinnamon rolls, read the Christmas story from the Bible with the nativity figurines, opened our stockings, and exchanged our secret santa gifts. We had previously exchanged names on a website called Elfster, which allowed everyone one larger gift, and five smaller gifts for your stocking. 

Etta had Mike and I's names to pick out something for our stockings, and she was free to pick out whatever she wanted for us. Some of the things she came up with were hilarious, like a dinner bell for Mike.

Some of the things I got were a plastic crown and wand, and a new fancy loofa.



Mike had drawn Bridge's name for the large gift exchange, and he got him virtual reality goggles he had asked for. They were a hit with everyone big and small!


After, another large feast was had, then we played some more board games, sang a little around the piano, and of course, decorated Christmas Cookies (complete with an ugly sweater cookie contest).








It was a very short trip, since Mike and I had to drive the 20+ hour trip to NYC, starting at about 3am on Sunday morning, but it was so nice to see everyone and spend the holidays together. 



Real Christmas in NYC has been nothing short of magical. Kicking off the holiday season, New York Kids Club had their holiday party at Slate complete with free food and drinks. It was really nice to get to spend some time with my work buddies outside of the job and introduce them to Mike. 

love these girls

stephanie <3

sara and emily!

Another great team bonding night we had with the 22 street crew was laser tag in this terrifying zombie course. Nothing shows true colors more like preschool teachers trying to kill one another...



I am really enjoying my time with Kids Club and have been really fortunate to meet some great new friends along the way.

Another magical part to Christmas is of course all the beautiful decorations throughout the city, and it even snowed!





Lord & Taylors beautiful decorations

even the Disney store was all decked out
Bryant Park tree
and of course Rockafellar Plaza 


One night we took the car to Dyker Heights to go check out all the crazy Christmas lights, and they did not disappoint.








One of the must do's at Christmas time in NYC is meeting Santa at Macy's Department Store at Santaland. Since the place is only open for about 24 days total, the line to go into Santaland is usually pretty long. We were lucky and only had about an hour and a half wait time....but I still can't say I was a big fan of the long wait. 


inside Santaland


sorry Santa, we forgot to bring our letters with us...

 Once you pass the line, you come to a certain section where the elves start splitting you off different directions. You can see cameras flashing from all sorts of different rooms and hear lots of different interactions going on.... I was quite skeptical, but in order to preserve the magic, I tried to just ignore it.
Santa was so sweet and we told him all about what we wanted for Christmas. He also said he could tell Mike and I were very much in love and that we would have a very Merry Christmas. One of the best parts about Santaland was after leaving, Santa's helpers gave us a small button we could keep.


Christmas in the city is lovely, but it is also nice to be home for the holidays as well. We headed to Brockport to celebrate with Mike's family, and arrived early enough to go sledding! I was so excited because I have not been sledding in so long (it was honestly the best part of my week, haha).





Christmas eve was fun especially when we all decorated ugly sweaters for a cookie contest (clearly number 5 was the best, wink, wink). 


Christmas eve night, Mike and I went to a candlelight church service, which I was pretty excited about because I wasn't sure if churches still did that or not since I have been in Hong Kong the last few years for Christmas. 


Christmas day was full of the usual, lots of food, presents, the Nativity story, family time, and of course, footie pajamas!








I was just happy because Santa brought me my mermaid blanket I was asking for....

right before going into the hot tub, so yes I am wearing a swim suit
It was a lovely holiday, and I was really glad we got to spend so much time with his awesome family. Mike and I had decided we needed a little adventure this holiday season since he had some time off, so at the last minute, we booked some Groupon deals that would eventually lead us to Boston. The trip really did not go as planned, and it was kind of a bust, but hey at least we tried, and we got to do a few fun things along the way.

Our first stop was Lake George near the Adirondack Mountains. There wasn't a whole lot of snow on the ground, but our room had a jacuzzi in it and the view was still beautiful.






(and since I always post about food), that night for dinner we had Pizza Jerks and the food was both massive and delicious!


The next day, we checked out and drove to Springfield, Massachusetts, where we made a stop in the city of Springfield to check out the Dr. Seuss sculpture garden at the museum. 


the lorax 

horton and friends

thing 1 and thing 2

thidwick

the grinch 

oh the places you'll go
 Next, we headed to what we thought was going to be a cute bed and breakfast with a nice indoor pool area...but just a little different than expected. I did get chocolate chip pancakes in bed the next morning though!


trying not to fall through the frozen lake while talking to my mom on the phone for her birthday (happy birthday mom!!)


Even though the weather was suppose to be terrible, we decided to continue our plan to head to Boston that morning. Fighting through the cold, the rain/sleet, and the lack of directions, we foraged our way through Boston, starting at the sight of the Boston massacre. 

Next we headed to Quincy Market, where I found all sorts of various foods I couldn't eat (womp, womp) like Clam Chowder and Lobster Rolls.


Quincy Market is similar to an indoor food court and outdoor mall. It was a very cute little area, complete with a Christmas tree.



Next, we followed the Freedom Trail (luckily it's a little less dangerous than the yellow brick road) to some of the more historical landmarks like Paul Revere's home (which was completely covered by a wall ): boo) and the Old North Church, where good ol' Paul hung the "One if by land, two if by sea" lanterns





We also walked around past the area of the Boston Tea Party, where I did not have time to take a picture because I couldn't feel my fingers, so you will have to enjoy this photo I got off of Google and know that this is what I saw (ha)...


My one mission while in Boston was to eat the worlds best Boston cream pie, however, I had thee hardest time finding one, and sadly, never succeeded. On the way out of Boston, we drove past Harvard in hopes of finding Elle Woods, but unfortunately, she was trapped in her car somewhere because there is no parking in this city anywhere (gahh!!). 



Like I said, it was a pretty unsuccessful trip, but we were able to make it back to NYC a day early, and I could see my best friend from high school, Emily!

With tomorrow being the last day of 2016, Mike and I have decided to brave the cold and the crowds and try to fight it out in Times Square. Lucky for you, you get the easy job of reading all about it (: Happy New Years!

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