Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Celebrating Thanksgiving in New York City!

I can't think of a better way to celebrate Thanksgiving holiday 
than spending it in New York City with family!
  We enjoyed not only one but two Thanksgiving meals, 
saw the Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes,
ate at some of the yummiest restaurants in the city,
 shopped in Little Italy, Chinatown, and SoHo, 
and even joined the mobs of shoppers on Black Friday.  
We went to LIVE with Kelly with Jerry Seinfield as her co-host, 
saw the balloons being blown up for the Macy's Day parade, 
enjoyed some Broadway shows, and saw all the Christmas decorations throughout the city. 
 Justin and the girls saw Justin Bieber on the Today show, we toured the 9/11 Memorial 
and walked the Brooklyn Bridge... twice cause it was just that gorgeous... 
the view and the warm 60 degree weather! 
 We packed in as much as we could and it was absolutely magical! 
 Magical, of course, because we were in NYC!  
But really what made it feel magical and memorable was just being together, 
hanging out, laughing together and enjoying each other!

Between Kimber, me and Justin we took over 600 photos.  
Don't worry... I'm not going to post them all:)!  
I've tried to narrow it down to just my "favorites." But let's be honest, it's still a lot! 
And usually I try to keep everything in chronological order but it's all a blurr right now 
so I organized it by event and hope that it makes sense.  Enjoy!

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge
The weather was so gorgeous on Sunday that we took a long walk down Wall Street, 
past the South Seaport and finally made our way to the Brooklyn Bridge.
We thought the view of NYC from the bridge was amazing!
And so did everyone else in New York City... it was packed with people
enjoying the nice weather and the unseasonably warm weather!
Tyler and Sonya enjoyed the nice weather and the nice walk!
Me and my Ash!
It was such a warm day that I had to carry my coat.
These two are so cute on their Sunday stroll in the city!
On our last day in NYC, the weather was so gorgeous that we decided we had to walk the bridge again.
This time we brought Kimber's good camera and snapped a photo for their Christmas card. 
Again, the bridge was packed so it made taking a photo a bit of a challenge.
But of course, I'm always up for photo op challenge 
and I think we succeeded in getting a good one... or should I say, two or three?!
I love this one of Brett and Kimber!
And this is great too!
Me and my Ash, again!
I think this is so cute of these two and maybe they should use it for their Christmas card photo!

Shopping in Little Italy, Chinatown and SoHo
Always a must when we are visiting New York City is a shopping adventure on Canal Street.
We shopped for scarfs and a couple of purses in Chinatown, 
lunched in Little Italy, then headed to SoHo for an afternoon
 where we drifted in and out of the boutiques and stores in SoHo.
Dad and Tyler were very patient shoppers and kept up...
 or should I say put up with the girls all day shopping excursion.
Brooke and Kimber, the Chinatown shopping pros, strolling down Canal Street.
Ashley was successful and found a stylish but functional red purse for Jerusalem.
And Brooke loved it so much that she bought herself one in BYU blue color.
Lunching at La Mela, one of our favorite italian restaurants in Little Italy.
Brooke, our fashionista, is so good at putting together a cute outfit
 that she is even matching her pasta dish.
I highly recommend the combo...Gnochi, Tortellini and Rigatoni Pomodoro. 
It was so yummy!
Tyler and Sonya loved their meal.
And so did Dad and Ashley!
After we enjoyed a delicious lunch, we headed over to SoHo 
and visited one of Kimber's favorite shops, C Wonder.
We had read on Kimber's blog about this cute shop and we weren't disappointed!
It truly lived up to all the hype and Kimber's rave reviews.
They had cute clothes, darling and unique jewelry, and festive dishware!
 Dad and Tyler found the big soft couch which made them very happy!
Brooke found a fabulous white dress shirt that fit her, which made her so very happy!
And I loved their sturdy shopping bags!  There was something for everyone
 so we all left the store with a cute bag and a smile on our face!

Trees and Treats Tour
Once we were finished shopping in SoHo,
 it was time for Kimber to take us on her "Treats and Trees tour" in the city!
So we grabbed the subway to start at the Origami Holiday Tree 
located at the American Museum of Natural History.
It is located in Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the museum.
We found a pig for Brooke.
Tyler and Sonya enjoyed seeing the first tree on our "Treats and Trees Tour!"
And a zebra for Allie.
Volunteers begin folding in July to complete the 500 creations displayed on the tree.
A crab... I guess for me cause sometimes I can get kind of crabby!
The tree was absolutely adorable!
Since we were already there at the museum, 
we take a quick look at some of the exhibits before the museum closed.
These two definitely liked the dinosaur exhibit.
And Brooke liked the bench that she found so she could rest her tired feet.
We ate dinner at Maoz, which was delicious!
Brooke and Dad shared their falafal filled pita, just like old times.
Thanks Sonya, for suggesting we try this place! 
Too bad that they don't have one in Oklahoma City!
After dinner, we continued on the tour.  Next stop... cookies at Levain Bakery!
We first heard of these cookies from Sydney, Ashley's roommate, who is an amazing cook!
We knew that if Sydney raved about them, that they must be delicious!
We were not disappointed! Absolutely AMAZING! The Chocolate Peanut Butter was incredible!
We loved them so much that we went back on Saturday 
and took Justin and Allie so they could try them too!
It's not fancy inside at all.  Just this little hole in the wall bakery,
 packed full of people with a line out the door and down the street.
But it is well worth the wait and fortunately they have a bench outside the store
so Brooke and Ashley could sit and enjoy their cookie together!
Brooke, who is obsessed with peanut butter... 
I mean, seriously obsessed with peanut butter, loved this cookie!
Since we didn't get enough chocolate at Levain's... 
and I suppose it was a little chilly walking on the Upper West Side that night,
 we stopped at Jacques Torres Chocolate Shop for some hot chocolate.
The guy gave us samples of hot chocolate and it was yummy!
As you can see, we got a couple of cookies too!  Oops!  
Did I mention that we had walked A LOT that day... 
and so we probably burned off an awful lot of calories... 
so it was way OK to eat all these cookies?!  Right?!
At least that is what we told ourselves!
Such a cute store!
All of us crowded on the little couch in the store.
We must have looked like quite a strange bunch all squished together,
so one of the guys that worked there offered to take a picture of all of us 
with our hot chocolate and cookies.
Brooke and Kimber with their hot chocolate!  Yum!
They had this great book with fabulous recipes.  
If you love chocolate and love to bake, this is a must!
Dad and his bear, so happy to be together
 and share a hot chocolate, a falafel and a cookie or two!
We passed by the LDS Temple, which is located by the Lincoln center in Manhattan.
Too bad that my pictures don't show how gorgeous it looks at night!
Just past the temple is this gorgeous tree with handmade decorations.
They hadn't turned the lights on yet this season so this picture doesn't do it justice.
So pretty!
Brooke and Kimber, who trying to keep warm, 
are thinking that they made need another hot chocolate?!  What?!
I love the detail on this one.
So festive and bright!
Our last stop that night was at the shops at Columbus Circle 
to see the colorful stars light show.
Tyler and Sonya loved seeing the twelve 14-foot stars 
which hung above the 150 foot tall Great Room at Time Warner Center. 
The stars with color and light are set and choreographed to holiday music.

LIVE with Kelly!
Early Tuesday morning, we went to see Kelly Ripa and Jerry Seinfield film LIVE with Kelly!  
Jerry was hysterical and Kelly, as usual, was just so charming and entertaining. 
 She really is quite amazingly funny and quick witted, on and off the camera.
  During the commercial breaks, she would grab a mike and come into the crowd to chat, 
answer questions, dance and banter with Jerry simply entertain the audience.
  Jerry would sometimes join her and engage in banter! They were very funny together! 
 It was like being at a comedy show or something! 
She is so high energy and would be chatting away with the audience 
right up until the moment the commercial break was over, 
hop on the chair and immediately begin a conversation with the guest. 
 She didn't even miss a beat!
On the set of LIVE!
Ashley, Kimber and Mom are ready to watch the show.
And so is Justin and Allie...
and Sonya, Tyler and Brooke.
Kelly and Jerry talking it up during the beginning of the show.
Jerry seems mesmorized by the story Kelly is telling.
I love the expressions on both Kelly and Jerry in this picture.
During the commercial break, 
Kelly is trying to have a conversation with the audience, 
while the staff is trying to touch up her makeup.
Brooke was sitting next to the girl, who's dad dated Kelly
so she was on TV quite a bit while Kelly chatted with the girl during the show.
They taped two shows with Jerry that day which was a lot of fun.
The kids are all smiles during the break between shows.
Jerry and Kelly with the guest, Kim Catrall.
Gilman, chatting with the audience during the break.

Kelly and Jerry are answering emails and once again, Brooke makes it on TV.
Thanks, Lauren for the great tickets!
 After the show, we walked over to the park 
and enjoyed a delicious brunch at Sarabeth's.
Ashley ordered the french toast with strawberries.  Yum!
The three peppered home fried potatoes tasted as good as they look!
Dad just "shared" with everyone and enjoyed a little taste of everything! 
Kimber and I ordered Sara's Famous Velvety Cream of Tomato soup
 and it was absolutely amazing!  Perfect on a chilly day!
I've got to get that recipe!  It was seriously so delicious!
 Outside Sarabeth's, enjoying the view of Central Park.
 Everyone enjoyed the fun morning at LIVE! and the yummy lunch at Sarabeth's.

9/11 Memorial
What a beautiful experience it was to view the 9/11 Memorial, 
which is just a couple of blocks from Kimber and Brett's apartment!  
Even in the rain, it was truly impressive!
I felt they did such a good job, honoring those who lost their life, 
with each of their names on the wall around the gorgeous memorial pools.
And I loved looking around at the new buildings that are rising up all around,
bringing new life to the World Trade Center site.
It is symbolic of the strength, determination, resiliency of the people in New York City.
The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size
 and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in the North America.
 The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood.
As I said, it was raining that night so we were huddled under our umbrellas,
listening to the audio description on our phones.
You can download the Explore 9/11 app on your Iphone before you get there,
 which includes, a seven-stop walking tour of the area around the World Trade Center,
 accompanied by audio and photo narration. 
The events of the day and its aftermath are told by first responders, 
rescue workers, volunteers, and those who lived and worked in lower Manhattan on 9/11.
The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks 
are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, 
a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack 
on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.
Dad and Ashley listening to the audio tour.
I loved looking at the memorial pools with the large buildings being built all around them.
If you are headed to NYC, I would highly recommend seeing the Memorial.
It's free, but reserve your 9/11 Memorial Visitor Pass online far in advance of your visit 
because they are limited and they book up early.

Grimaldi's Pizza
 After the Memorial, we took the subway to Grimaldi's to try their famous pizza.
I think the original restaurant or maybe the most popluar one 
is located in Brooklyn under the Brooklyn bridge. 
 We have tried to dine there a couple of times but there is always such a long line
 that we have opted for ice cream at  Brookyn Ice Cream Factory instead.  
Also, a very good choice, the ice cream is delicious, but it's not Grimaldi's pizza.  
So when they opened up a new location in Manhattan, 
we were all excited that it was closer 
but mostly excited that people haven't discovered it yet so there wasn't a long line.  
 Justin and Allie loved the pizza.
 Ashley and Brooke liked the pepperoni pizza.
Always a favorite at the Holt household.
 Kimber and I preferred the sundried tomato and cheese pizza.
I loved the thin crust!
 The boys loved the meat lovers pizza.
 The pepperoni and olive was good too.
Allie and Ashley with the meatlover's pizza in front of them.
I'm not sure how that happened because they preferred the sun-dried tomato and cheese pizza.
It soon made it's way down to the boys and it didn't take long for them to finish it off.
Tyler and Sonya's friends, Bryan and Dani Hunt met up with us for pizza.
Tyler and Bryan were missionary companions in Brazil so they had fun catching up.

Max Brenner's
Now that we have finished dinner, it's on to dessert 
and that means it's time for one of our favorite places in NYC, Max Brenner's.
Our table is filled with a variety of chocolate concoctions!
Dad is just a little bit happy because he ordered The Euphoria Peanut Butter Chocolate Sundae!
It's Tyler and Sonya's first time at Max's so they had to order a chocolate shake.
Brooke and Kimber shared their chocolate treat.
Yup!  That's Tyler drinking the chocolate syrup
 that is supposed to be drizzled on top of one of the desserts!
I have to confess... I drank mine too... it was just that good!
Dad and I are sharing the Sukao, which is the espresso of the chocolate drinks.
 It is a small, dense, concentrated shot of rich chocolate. 
The term "suckao" is made up of two words that describe the utensil
 and the unique drink it contains:
"Suck" means to draw the dense liquid through the metal straw.
"Kakao" is the Spanish word for cocoa beans from 
which this rich chocolate drink is made and which determines its quality. 
It is definitely Dad's favorite thing on the menu.
And then Dad added some more chocolate to the Sukao
and Allie had to try it too.
It looks like Justin and Allie liked Max Brenner too 
by the look of their empty plate and Allie is still working on that Sukao!
Kimber is so happy that Tyler and Sonya love Max Brenner just as much as she does.
And so did Justin, Allie and Brooke!  
That is one thing that we all have in common, we all love chocolate!
  So Max Brenner's is definitely a favorite NYC spot for the Holt family.

Justin Bieber and the Today Show
Wednesday morning, bright and very, very early, these crazy kids 
made their way to the Today show to see Justin Bieber perform.
I thought Allie's Justin was just being a good sport and supportive husband
by going with Allie to the concert, 
but I soon realized that he was just as excited and determined to go as the girls!
He had a great time together along with thousands of other Bieber fans,
most of them were girls between ages of 10-14, wearing braces,
 but hey, who wouldn't want to accompany 3 cute girls to a concert 
and listen to crowds of little girls screaming your name:)!
The masses of Bieber fans trying catch a glimpse of "the Bieber!"
Ashley said there were SO many tweeners and SO many braces!
Since Justin dressed up as Justin Bieber for Halloween, 
he brought the "Never say Never" t-shirt that Allie made for him!
Since Ashley and Brooke couldn't get close enough to JB to get a picture,
getting a photo with JL and his T-shirt was almost as good, right?!
Justin Bieber on the TV in the plaza.
The girls are bright and cheery, even though it was so early in the morning!
Justin and Brooke got asked to hang out and be in the crowd for the 10 o'clock Today show.
After the show, the kids hung out for a bit with Matt Lauer!
It was a fun morning and they assured me 
that it was totally worth getting up that early to see Justin Bieber!

 Christmas Spectacular

Together outside the Radio Music Hall!
We missed Brett, who had to work that morning.
The Rockettes!  They were amazing!
Our seats were great!
Brooke and Ashley loved the 3D glasses!
They do look cute in them!
I loved this cute number with the Rockettes in their cute coats and hats,
riding the tour bus all over NYC, 
looking at the Christmas decorations throughout the city.
Allie and Justin look cute in their glasses too.
This is my favorite number with the Rockettes,
marching around like wooden soldiers.
So clever as the wooden soldiers are falling...
I felt like a little kid, but it was so adorable and I absolutely loved this part!
I've seen the show 3 times but I could watch this number over and over and never tire of it!
And then the Living Nativity with sheep and camels crossing the stage
and with the beautiful Christmas carols playing,  I couldn't help but cry.
It always gets me every time!
Such a wonderful time of the year
 and such a wonderful event, the Christ's birth to celebrate!
It is truly one of most beautiful Nativities that I've ever seen!
Our ticket included a free picture with a Rockette or Santa.
Of course, we wanted to get a picture with a Rockette (sorry Santa!)
So after the show, we went two floors downstairs but only Santa was there.
We were told that the Rockette was up on the third floor balcony. 
So all 9 of us hiked up three flights of stairs 
but found out that the Rockette was only taking pictures before the show.
 Since we couldn't find a Rockette to take a picture with,
we posed in front the next best thing, this poster of the Rockettes.
We stopped and did a photo op in front of the gorgeous chandelier! 
Love this photo of Justin and Allie!
And I love this guy!
And this is adorable of Tyler and Sonya!
And here is the whole gang (minus Brett) inside the Radio City Music Hall.
And of course, we had to take a group photo outside the Radio City Music Hall too.
 We walked over to Rockefeller Center to look at the decorations
and took pictures by the angels, which was the same place,
 where we took family photos 13 years ago on our first family trip to NYC. 
 So cute of Allie and Justin!
 And this one of the girls is adorable!
And of course, we had to get a photo too!

 Macy's Day Parade Balloons
One of the things that my kids remember most from that first trip at Thanksgiving time, 
was watching the balloons for the Macy's Day parade get inflated the night before Thanksgiving.
I look a little bit surprised by the crowds of people wanting to see the balloons!
It was crazy packed with people!  It felt so New Yorkish! 
I know that is a made up word but you know what I mean... crowded and full of energy and fun!
But in the midst of all the hundreds of balloon inflated fans and spectators, 
Kimber runs into some of her NYC friends and families.
The Koolaid balloon!
It was a bit chilly that night so we stopped at Starbucks for some hot chocolate to warm us up!
The girls in front of the balloons!
Spiderman, close up and personal.  Very cool!
Allie and Justin, trying to keep warm with their hot chocolate!
The New Yorkers and the Oklahomans together, enjoying the view of the balloons!
Brooke, the Energizer bunny bear with the Energizer bunny balloon!
Tyler and Sonya and the balloons.
I don't know what was wrong with my eyes that night... I still look a little surprised!
Actually, I think it was a bit cold that night and I think I was freezing
but trying to pretend that I'm not... I'm not a very good actress, I guess!
Allie and Justin don't look like they are a bit cold... they just look adorable!
And so do Kimber and Brett!
And one last picture with the whole group with the balloons!  Loved it!

Shows, Stardust Cafe and Times Square
Since everyone wanted to see different shows, 
we split up and went in different directions after we saw the balloons.
  Tyler and Sonya and Justin and Allie saw Wicked, 
Ashley and Brooke went to see Memphis 
and Brett and Kimber and Dad and I saw How to Succeed in Business.
So we all split up that night and headed to our shows.
Afterwards, we met up at Stardust Diner
another Holt family favorite NYC dining spot.
 Brooke and Ashley loved Memphis!
 These two "little girls" are the best of friends!
 The newlywed couples went to Wicked! 
(Tyler and Sonya still qualify as newlyweds, don't they?)
 We loved How to Succeed in Business with Daniel Radcliffe!
He was absolutely amazing!  I thought he was good as Harry Potter 
but I think I liked him even more as J. Pierrepont Finch!
He, along with John Larroquette, stole the show.
I was amazed at how Daniel Radcliffe spoke quickly and distinctively, with an American accent.
At first, when you see him on stage, all you can think is that he is Harry Potter.
But by the end of the show, you almost forget that he is British...
that is, until he came on the stage afterwards 
and asks the audience to donate to some charity in his strong British accent, 
and you remember that, oh yeah, he is Harry Potter!
It was a great show!
 Ellen's Stardust Diner, always a favorite after a night at the theater.
The waiters and waitresses sing and dance and entertain throughout the night.
 The waitress sang to Justin!
 Later she came back to our table and sang, "Happy Birthday!" to Brett.
 Then next thing I know, the waiter grabbed me and started twirling me around.
He figured out pretty quick that I'm a little rusty
 and probably regretted choosing me to be his dance partner!  
Just look the his expression on his face!  Ha! Ha!
 But I gave it my best shot and if nothing else, I kept my kids... and Mark in stitches
and entertained them all for a brief moment!  I was grateful that it was a short song!
 We walked through Times Square on the way to the subway.
It was almost 1 am but you would think it was the middle of the day,
with all the billboards lit up, taxis and cars in the streets, and people everywhere.
It felt again, so New Yorkish.  One of those New York moments that I love!
 And so, of course, we had to take pictures to capture that New York moment forever!
This is Justin's first trip to New York City and he loves Times Square.
It was Tyler and Sonya's first trip to NYC together!
 Love these 3 gals...
 and they love Times Square...
and I love this picture of our family, together, sharing a New York City moment!
And I love that the word "Forever" is in the upper left corner of this picture,
just above Mark's head, 
because as Mormons, we believe that families can be together forever!
And at that moment, it felt like we got to see a small glimpse 
of what "together forever" would be like...
a little bit like heaven on earth...
without quite so many flourescent lights and billboards:)!
A little magical!

Thanksgiving Dinners
We got to celebrate Thanksgiving twice, once with Tyler and Sonya on Sunday afternoon at Kimber's, 
and again, on Thanksgiving day, with Allie and Justin at Westville.
I loved the opportunity to spending two days reflecting upon things which we are most grateful for 
and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives.
I loved making Thanksgiving dinner with the girls in Kimber's little apartment, 
actually Kimber did most of the work and we just watched her, (we are good at that!)
But it was fun to be in the kitchen with my girls,
even if it was a little kitchen and we were bumping into each other and it was fun!
And then I loved going to dinner on Thanksgiving day 
and being like a New Yorker and eating out at a fun restaurant!
It was like having the best of both worlds on Thanksgiving!
 The gang at the dinner table at Kimber and Brett's cute apartment.
 There is a funny story behind the turkey but it's best shared in person...
all I can say is that every time I look at this picture, I get the giggles...
and that's all I have to say about that:)!
 Kimber did a fabulous job with the meal and everything tasted delicious!
 So grateful that we could celebrate Thanksgiving with these two!
 And Ashley voted for these two for the cutest couple in the family:)!
I had to include this picture to prove that Kimber and Brett did sit down that day!
Kimber woke up early to make a couple of batches of banana bread,
 and then she gave a beautiful talk at church, while Brett conducted the meeting. 
After church, Kimber hosted a brunch with cousin Tina and her husband with our family, 
while Brett was at church at meetings doing his regular Bishop duties.
And then Kimber cooked a delicious Thanksgiving meal that night!  
Just another normal Sunday at the Crandall's!
Sitting down at the Westville restaurant to enjoy our Thanksgiving meal together.
 So grateful for these two!
 And for these cute newlyweds!
 Our yummy Thanksgiving meal!
 And these two are grateful for each other!
 And Brooke is grateful to share her Thanksgiving meal
 with two of her favorite people, Dad and Kimber!
 Time to dig in and eat!
 SO grateful to this guy, for so many reasons,
but on that day, grateful that he makes moments like that possible,
spending time together as family.
 I love this picture because it reminds me
 of how grateful I am that Brooke still has her blond curls, 
just like she had as a little girl.
As long as she has her curls, it feels like she is still my little girl!
 The desserts were amazing!
Of course, we had to try two or three besides the traditional pumpkin pie!
 Back in Kimber and Brett's apartment lobby,
 we stopped to take a few Thanksgiving photos.
And a photo of the family, minus Tyler and Sonya, 
who had to get back to Oklahoma.
We missed them terribly.  As Ashley put it, 
"It's just not the same when someone isn't there.  
I mean, we still have a lot of people and 
it's fun and all but just not as fun without everyone there!"
But, we are grateful that they could get away from school and work 
as long as they did and be with us for most of the week!

Statue of Liberty, Black Friday, Shake Shack, and Top of the Rock 

 Friday was busy, with Allie and Justin, 
getting up early to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
 Justin and Allie posing near the Statue of Liberty.
 The view looking back to the city.
 Ellis Island.

 Inside the Ellis Island Immigrant Museum.
 Such a cute couple!
 On the way to lunch at Shake Shack we noticed the big 40% off sign
at the Banana Republic store and did a little Black Friday shopping.
 The shakes at Shake Shack were absolutely delicious!
 The Lower West Side was my favorite, 
with chocolate custard, malted marshmellow and chocolate nibs. Yum!
Brooke liked it too!
And after an early morning of sightseeing,
the burgers tasted delicious!
 Later that day, these kids went to Top of the Rock 
at Rockefeller Center right at sunset.
 The views of NYC were amazing!
 And the sunset over NYC was gorgeous too!
Another gorgeous picture of this cute couple!
 And while they were at Top of the Rock, 
we were busy shopping for material at the garment district.
But first we made a stop at Donut Plant.
 Even though we had just finished a delicious lunch at burgers, fries and shakes
and our tummies were full, we had to try the donuts since I had heard that they were delicious too!
So we bought half a dozen donuts.  A treat to eat later when we got hungry.
The only problem with that is that we kept stopping and eating all day... everyday
that we never really were hungry all week.
We carried those donuts around all day and night until late that night,
back at Kimber's apartment, we broke into the box of donuts 
and it was worth hauling those donuts everywhere because that were fabulous!
 The donuts were fabulous and the decor inside the shop was too!
This is the backwash at the counter.  So cute and clever!
 And these are the adorable pillows that look like donuts that are hung on the wall.
 The place looked bright, and cheery and fun!
Kimber and Brooke loved the donuts and the donut decor!
 We finally made our way to the fabric store and look at all the adorable fabric we found!
 Brooke was so happy picking out cute fabric for all of her creative projects!

Occupy Wall Street
 Since Brett and Kimber live just a couple of blocks from Zucotti park, 
we were fortunate enough to run into this group of "Occupiers" 
who were chanting and shouting, "All day! All week! Occupy Wall Street!"
It was entertaining!
Tyler and Sonya, standing by the Wall St. Bull, which is now guarded by a barricade, 
so that the protesters can't damage or defame it.
 More scenes of the Wall Street Occupiers at Zucotti park.
Justin enjoyed watching the crowds at Zucotti Park.
Even the Wikileak truck should up for the protest.
By the end of the week, most of the protesters were gone.
Just a few remained while the Christmas lights were being hung on the trees.
Things looked like they were getting back to normal at Zucotti park and looked festive again!

Dinner at Tony DiNapali's with the Martin Family
On Friday night, we met up with Jerry and Marci Martin and their boys,
who are our dear friends from Granite Bay that were also spending the Thanksgiving holiday in NYC
and enjoyed a yummy dinner at  Tony DiNapali's.
 The Martin Family, Scott, Todd, Jerry and my dear friend, Marci.
The zuchinni chips dipped in marinara sauce was amazing!
 Allie and Justin.
We let Kimber order family style for us and everything was delicious!
When all the plates came, I thought, "Wow! Kimber ordered way to much for us!"
Ummm! No!  We finished every single dish!  Yum!
The Vodka sauce on the Rigatoni and Mushroom was yummy!
 Mark and Debbie.
 The Salmon Oreganato was probably my favorite dish!
We couldn't plan it any better than to be in NYC at the same time
 as a good friends, Jerry and Marci and spend the evening with them!  So fun!

Christmas at Rockfeller Center and the Windows at Saks Fifth Avenue
We walked over to see the angels at Rockefeller Center at night.
They look so pretty at night.
It really feels like Christmas!
And across the street at Saks, we looked at the window that we decorated for Christmas.
I think the theme this year must have been bubbles.
Not very Christmasy but unique, that's for sure!
We loved looking at the windows as we waited for the show.

Skating in Central Park... or not!
On Saturday, we grabbed some deli sandwiches and went to a park along the Hudson River.
The sandwiches were delicious and the view across the Hudson was amazing too.
And so we had to take a few photos with the amazing New Jersey skyline in the background.
Brooke just couldn't pass up a hot dog at the hot dog stand.
And these kids couldn't pass up a picture with Brooke and her hot dog.
We walked to Central Park with the intent on ice skating.
It sounded like such a good idea and so that's what was on the agenda for the last day,
after a long week which consisted of a LOT of walking!
I envisioned us skating with our coats and scarves and mittens on, keeping us warm!
But after a long week which consisted of a LOT of walking 
and by the time we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, 
took the subway and walked through the park to the skating ring, we were so hot  and our feet were a little sore!
(did I mention that it was 62 degrees that day, so forgot the coats, scarves, and mittens thing!)
So, we sat ourselves down near the rink and I could see in the faces of my kids,
that they were asking, "Mom, do we really want to skate today?"
And I have to admit, the thought of putting those skates on my sore feet didn't sound fun at all.
So we decided instead of skating, that we would just watch the skaters 
and take pictures by the skating rink.
Everyone was relieved and happy!
It all seemed just like the perfect thing to do!
Dad was really happy posing with Ashley with the skating rink behind them.
Kimber and Brett.
Mom and Brooke.
Justin and Allie.
So the kids were all happy!
And Mom and Dad were happy!
And so we walked through Central Park 
and enjoyed the lovely weather,
 along with many other New Yorkers that day!

Celebrating Brett's Birthday in Little Italy
All week long we celebrated Brett's birthday.
Every time that we were at a restaurant, 
we would tell the waiter that it was his birthday 
and they would come sing to him.
He was a good sport and would go along with it. Every. single. night:)!
But on Saturday night, we officially celebrated his birthday
 and let him pick the restaurant... with Kimber's help;)!
So we were to Angelo's in Little Italy and had a delicious meal.
The Christmas lights and decor on Mulberry Street in Little Italy!
The birthday boy and his wife on Mulberry Street.
It was festive and fun in Little Italy!
Allie and Justin have lots of possibilities for Christmas photos.
I love this one with the Christmas tree lit up behind them.
Angelo's was a delicious choice for Brett's birthday dinner.
It looks like Brooke liked the Mezzelune Bella Napoli, 
halfMoon ravioli in cream tomato sauce, that she ordered. 
I had to stop her before she liked her plate clean!
The sauce was just that good!
Allie and Justin loved their dishes too!
We came back to Brett and Kimber's apartment afterwards
to sing "Happy Birthday" for the last time and open presents!
Brooke surprised Brett with this birthday banner that she made earlier in the day.
Brett earned the title "Brave Brett" when we were in Brazil, traveling in the Amazons 
and our guide always had him try things first and be the guinea pig
 because he was so brave, hence he became known as "Brave Brett!"
The girls got such a kick out of it that the name has stuck 
and Brett is so good natured and just goes along with it.
We should note that the decorations are not Brooke's most creative 
nor are they her usual "over the top" birthday decor
but she had very limited supplies and time and so this is what you get.
Fortunately, Brett said it was exactly what he wanted for his birthday so everyone was happy!
Brett received a new Ipod nano, which he has been wanting so he is all smiles.
And the kids got him an Itunes gift card so he could download some music,
and that made him happy too!
Actually, Brett is always happy!  It's nice to give presents to someone who is always happy 
and say's "That's exactly what I wanted!" to anything and everything that he opens!
You got to love that Brett!
Happy Birthday, Brett!  We love you and we loved celebrating your 29th birthday all week!

Sweets, Treats and Subway Seats!

One day we stopped at Crumbs because Ash had never been there before.
We made sure that she tried their cupcakes but come to find out,
she doesn't even like cupcakes so much... what?!
How can she be a Holt?!!
Kimber and Ashley with a Red Velvet cupcake!
Ashley has no idea what she is missing!
Brooke is ready and waiting to take the subway!
She is a pro at getting around the city!
She ran 60 miles around Manhattan that week,
so taking the subway is a special treat for her:)!
Cute kids who are sitting on the subway together!
Brooke liked this billboard in one of the subway stations.
Tyler and Sonya on the subway!
And the rest of us all squished on the subway!
 And some of the girls with dad after a successful day of shopping!
It was a successful week of shopping, sightseeing, eating and fun!
Thanks, Brett and Kimber for making it such a memorable and magical week for all of us!


Kimber said...

Wow! You are quite the blogger, Mom! I'm impressed! It took me three separate sittings to get through this! Wow! How did we pack so much in?! What a fun week!!! Thanks for making it happen!!

Sonya and Tyler said...

Ah, it was such a fun trip! I loved looking through all of the photos!! So many good ones! Thank you so much for such an incredible fun filled and memorable week with everyone!