Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chapter Five: NEW YORK!!!!

The last decade has held many vacations, most combined in one way or another with the Hall Family.  As we would beach or visit parks, we'd often say, "We need to do New York one day." 

Well, 'one day' finally arrived.  Last week, 5 girls and Austin took on the city.  It was the most challenging of our families' trips, but equally rewarding and full of many wonderful moments.

Seeing Ground Zero, including St. Paul's Cathedral was powerful.

We had a blast shopping in stores such as Toys R Us, Disney Store, M&M Store, The Hershey Store, Fao Schwarz, and many others!


Visiting the two islands, one housing the Statue of Liberty, is something every single American should do.  It truly takes your breath away.  The museums, housing room after room of immigrant memorabilia, allowed a true glimce into the sacrifice people made just to be in the Land of Opportunity.

After standing in a three hour line and fighting through a crowd of 50 people once in the store, we finally got our bag of coveted cupcakes and cookies.  Worth three hours?  I don't know about all that, but the icing sure did taste UNBELIEVABLY delicious. Mmmmmmmm....

The American Girl Store fuflilled all of Chloe's little girl fantasies and then some.  Laney got pampered in their day salon and Julie joined our family.  There was a bakery and even a place for your dolls to "hang out" while you used the 'facilities'. 

Yes, I spent way too much money and I should be smacked for spending money at all for a doll to get a manicure. 

But one look at the joy on Chloe's face made it all worth it.  We WILL be repeat visitors...

This is one of the greatest shows I have ever seen.  Sure, I am a little biased since it is the only one I have actually seen IN New York.  Nonetheless, it was fabulous and deserved all of the Tony's it has won!

I do not know if any of us could honestly say, "I LOVE New York!" because between the people, the subways, the walking (my ankles were soccer balls!), and the cost, we could not wait to make our way back to Virginia.  However, our four days were filled with laughter, beauty, and amazement, as we spent time in several of our country's most famous spots. 

But we most definitely could say, "We loved OUR trip to New York!"

 Thankful to have gone and thankful to have shared it with five people I love so very much... 

Austin, Chloe, Hollyann, Gwen, and Robyn - Times Square, New York
...but I was pretty darn thankful to come HOME, too! ;o)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer 2011: Chapter Four

As our summer adventure continued, I had the privilege to do one of my favorite things: spend time with my Pittsburgh Family.  This included my cousins, aunts, uncles, brother, and my most endearing, Grandma Deep.  These visits always fill my heart with lifelong warmth in memories that my children and I create in the places where I spent the most joyous times in my childhood.  Sadly, over the last couple of years, the times have changed, as families have evolved and our grandparents have aged, but each visit is still incredibly meaningful and heart-warming.  I always come home feeling more grateful for my past..and present...then before I left; because my paternal family, my Dad's people, my Deep Family, has, and still does, provide me with a peace, that only pure, true, family can bring.

Waldameer Park, Erie, PA

This plate, that now hangs in Jesse's beautiful kitchen, hung in our Grandma's kitchen, too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer 2011: The Great Cousin Visit (Chapter Three)

After three summers...he finally made it!  Austin's cousin, my nephew, Ryan's brother's son, Shawn, 17, came to spend ten days at our house.  Now, I say "at our house" lightly, because one thing we hardly ever did during his almost dozen nights, was stay home.  It was a blast.  I love him as much, if not more, as I did when he was 2 and sported the same giant smile and the same infectious giggle.  I am grateful for the visit of this "Great" cousin for Austin, for Chloe, for Brian, and for me.  It. was. a. blast.
The Thinker

Ready for a fun-filled day!

If only...

See the Engineer waving behind them? Cool...

4D Pirates Show

Aye Matey!

Making a wax hippo...colors of a German flag.  That's Shawn.  Random...

Disney Schmisney!
This is why he didn't get a haircut BEFORE his trip! ;o)

Cool Cousins
Even Shawn couldn't say no to the swings! 
Busch Gardens Williamsburg - June 27, 2011

"No, Chloe.  You may not play any games." Ha! says Shawn!

Norfolk Naval Ship

17th Street Surf Shop - Virginia Beach, June 2011

Kohr's Ice Cream - "Jimmies" in Virginia!!!

Ahhh! He looks so much like his mom here...

Beach Quarters Rooftop Pool and Lounge

"Let's rent one of those four person bikes!"  NO where near as fun as it sounded....

Water Country, USA - June 28, 2011

Finally....we exhausted him. :O)
Shawn, it was awesome having you here and I am thankful for the reminder of how grateful I am for you in our lives...

Please come back. SOON.  We have some winter adventures, too... OR we can just stay home in our pajamas this time.  ;o)

Love ya!

xo Aunt Kelley xo