polka dots

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More Memories

We had a great time in New York.  It was just a fun time for the family to be together.  But several of my "funnest" memories were:

1.  The "Go Fish" games that were played in our hotel room.  Ashlynn was pretty good, but Uncle Brendon seemed to beat us all!

2.  Receiving dance lessons from the up and coming Ashlynn Kate.  She was quite patient as she tried to explain and teach us turns and moves.  Let's just say, she has her work cut out for her!

3.  We had adjoining rooms.  We did not show her the connection doors until the 2nd day we were there.  When we did, it was just like Austin said, "It's like having a magic portal".  Ashlynn thought that was the greatest thing to be able to go back and forth between our rooms.  She would run back and forth saying "your room - my room".  It was truly magical to her!

4.  Singing the Cinderella song.  It's so hard for a 5 year old to sit still - particularly if grown ups are trying to decide what to do next and you're ready to go.  So, to pass the time, Ashlynn and I would sing the Cinderella song.  If we sang it once.....we sang it a gazillion times.  Sometimes we'd sing it together.  Other times, we'd take turns or go back and forth.  We even walked down Broadway in Times Square singing it at the tops of our lungs.  Yep, the Cinderalla song can make anything a little bit more fun.

We can do it, we can do it
We can help our Cinderellie
We can make a dress so pretty
There's nothing to it really
We'll tie a sash around it
And put a ribbon through it
While dancing at the ball
She'll be more beautiful than all
We can make a lovely dress for Cinderellie.

Don't think I'll ever forget those words and honestly, I don't want to!

Mary Poppins

Night two had us at Mary Poppins.  Where the Lion King is full of special effects, Mary Poppins is just a good ol' musical.  The story-line is not like the Disney film.  It is based on the Mary Poppins books written by P.T. Travers.  And it is a much better story.  They do use all the Disney songs and more, so Ashlynn knew most of the songs and her feet were never still!  Every once in awhile she'd even try to keep up with all the arm movements while sitting in her seat.  She was SO CUTE to watch!  But when the actors did Step In Time with their tap shoes.....she just about couldn't contain herself.  This play was even more fun than Lion King!  

A spoonful of Sugar helps the medicine go down!

Our favorite: S-U-P-E-R-C-A-L-I-F-R-A-G-I-L-I-S-T-I-C-E-X-P-I-A-L-I-D-O-C-I-O-U-S.  I thought Ashlynn was going to jump out of her seat with this one!

Chim-chim-er-ree, chim-chim-er-ree......

Step in time!

Anything can happen if you let it.  Mary Poppins ends with her flying away above the audience with her umbrella.

You walk away from the play with such a song in your heart and a spring in your step.  It just makes you feel really good inside.  What a treat!

The Lion King

We had the opportunity to see two Broadway plays while in New York.  The Lion King holds a special place in my heart for several reasons.  First of all, it is the first show we ever saw on Broadway.  It was also the first show where we took our boys.  The Lion King was always one of the boys favorite movies growing up - we knew all the music by heart.  So, to see it played out on the stage was fascinating to us.  Second, two of the languages that they speak are Zulu and Ndebele, which are the languages that Wes grew up around while living in Africa.   Hearing those words again bring back such great memories for him. Third, just watching the special effects of this play will just blow you away.  You just keep asking yourself, "How do they do that?  How did they come up with that?" The creativity involved is spectacular.  And last, there are so many spiritual truths in it, that I've never gone and not have God talk to me.  So, I wanted to share all of these experiences with Ashlynn.  It was so fun watching her as she took in the life sized animals coming down the aisle and seeing her little feet dance and tap to the beat of all the songs.  

Here is the website to see the trailer to The Lion King:  http://www.lionking.com/about  When Rafiki comes and calls out to the other animals, a chill runs up and down my arms.  She is calling out that the new king has been born and to come see and worship.  Is that how the angels felt the night Jesus was born?  Knowing that the Savior had come to earth - what a experience for the angels and the shepherds.  Also, when the animals get up on stage, they start yelling in Zulu, "Thank you, Father God" over and over.  When all this started on stage, I just started to cry.  I could not believe that God had allowed me to bring my little girl to see this.  It was a dream come true. 

We sat through the show in awe.  Just unbelievable fun.  I will never forget it.  I hope Ashlynn doesn't either.

Rafiki.....she is my favorite.

 The animals are incredible.  You see the actors and yet you don't.  Creativity at it's finest.

Celebrating the new king.

Puumba and Timon - great comic relief.  Again, the actors are right there and yet, it's the animals you see.

Monday, January 28, 2013

New York City

The day finally arrived!  We were on our way to New York City.  We had such a great time and took a gazillion pictures, but here are a few of the highlights:

 Ashlynn and Uncle Brendon trying to wait patiently for our airplane to arrive.

This wasn't her first plane ride, but it's the first one she remembers.  She was VERY excited.

 Sam, our driver, met us at LaGuardia airport with her sign.

Riding on the ferris wheel at the Times Square Toys R Us.

 Brendon getting to meet Rupert Jee owner of the Hello Deli, made famous by David Letterman.

 Our first night we ate at Carmine's Restaurant.  Fabulous Italian food.  This was our dessert, known as the Titanic.  There were 6 of us and the Titanic won.

Ashlynn loved riding on the subway.  Why walk or take a cab when you could ride a train that was underground?

 Our adventure also lead us to FAO Schwatz.  Ashlynn got to make her own muppet.  She put it all together on paper and then they made her a real one.

 This is Nina....Ashlynn's creation.

 Playing on the Big Piano at FAO Schwarz.

 Nighttime in Times Square.  It was SO COLD that night!  But we still had a great time.

 The next day was so much warmer - still cold, but not unbearable!  We started by checking out Central Park.

 Horse drawn carriage rides are a great way to see the park.

 Just a fun way to watch all the people at the park.

Every princess needs pink shades while going on a carriage ride.

 Woo-Hoo!  Another family shot!  It's so hard to get all of us together at one time, so anytime we can get a picture of all of us - we grab it!

On top of a huge rock formation in Central Park.  A great place to let a 5 year old explore!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Really? We can do this?

Back in October 2012, I noticed that The Lion King was going to be performing in Dallas in October of 2013.  I don't have a "bucket list", but if I did, one of the things on it would be to take Ashlynn to see this show.  I told Wes about it and said how much I would really like to take the family.  He nodded and we went about our business.  About an hour later, he came to me and said, "You know, you really shouldn't take Ashlynn to see The Lion King here.  She really needs to experience it in New York on Broadway."  I agreed, but knew the cost of taking the whole family would be beyond what we could do, so I just let that thought leave my mind.

Then in November, the church gave me my retirement party.  My gift from them was 2 nights at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.  If anyone knows me, they know that that's one of my favorite destinations and favorite place to stay.  I was thrilled!  I hadn't been to New York in 4 years (we usually make it a yearly excursion) and the thought of getting to head back there brought joy to my heart.  Wes suggested we try to go in early December.  That way we could see the giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and walk around 5th Ave. and see all the Christmas window displays.  I loved the idea. However, it just didn't come to pass.  We were having to go back and forth from South Carolina to help Wes' parents get settled in their new place.  So, New York was just going to have to wait for awhile.

About the middle of December, Wes and I were discussing what we'd like to give the kids for Christmas.  We thought a family trip might be fun...maybe a Disney Cruise.  That wasn't a good idea.  Shawna was pregnant, and she didn't need the sway of a boat.  We'll do that some other day.  Then the idea popped up about going to New York.  What would that cost to take the whole family?  Wait.....we've got a gift card to the Marriott....that would help some. Then Wes went to check our Marriott rewards.  Our credit card gives us Marriott points to stay at their hotels.  We hadn't used those rewards in a few years.  Wait!  We have enough points to get several free nights at the Marquis.  Really?  Could this be happening?

Then I told Wes that if we chose to do this, we would need to buy tickets and not fly non-rev to New York.  Yes, January is a great time to fly non-rev as the loads on the planes are usually light right after Christmas....but the weather could turn really bad and if New York City gets a storm, it could be days before we got out of the area.  My guys are use to flying non-rev and waiting at the airport, going from gate to gate to see if we can get on the next flight.  However, I'm not going to ask my pregnant daughter and 5 year old granddaughter to do that. So, we decided it would be best to buy tickets.

Then, Wes remembered that we had AA advantage miles.  Could we possibly have enough to get a free ticket or two?  Why yes!!!  We do!  Seriously!  Is New York going to happen??  I believe it is!  God is this what You want because we REALLY want to do this if it's cool with you.  As we started looking deeper and deeper into it, we realized that yes, God was saying this is cool.....go do it.  So, we did! It was a wonderful trip.  And it all started because my church wanted to honor me for being their children's pastor.  They will never know the gift they have given to me.  A treasure beyond words!

My next few blogs will be about our adventures. I won't be able to fully describe everything that happened.  But I'll give it my best try!