And now for June...
The first three days of the month were crazy & hectic. They were spent doing laundry, cleaning the house, getting all loose ends tied up for work, & last but certainly not least, packing for our 10 DAY TENNESSEE/NEW YORK VACATION. Yay!!! We were able to spend Wednesday night in Park City at the condo so our morning commute was shorter & not so early. Here is the first official pic of our vacation, obviously at the airport waiting to board our first flight.
Ainsley, Addison, & Alivia were awesome on our flights to Nashville. I was amazed at how well they did. Once we arrived at the airport, we were greeted by Danyette, Hope, Ellie, & Mya. The girls were so excited to see one another & of course Brayd & I were excited to see all of them. We gathered up our luggage & headed out to pick up our rental car which by the way was the Chevy version of the car I want right now, a Buick Enclave. I think I convinced Brayd to buy me one, hopefully sooner than later. We then headed to the Nashville Palace to watch Tweeb sing. Brayd & I were so pumped. We met Tweeb & his family (Craig, Karen, Eric, Brooke, Ericson, & Brighton) there. We ordered dinner & ate while we waited for Tweeb to sing (wouldn't recommend it btw). We watched 5 other performers before it was Tweeb's turn. Tweeb rocked the house!!
We had a blast watching our very own Uncle Tweeb sing on stage for real. We can't wait to get back & watch more performances. We then made our way to the motel for a much needed nights rest.
The following morning the boys (Brayd, Tweeb, Craig, & Eric) went golfing. The girls & I headed to Wal Mart to pick up Mya a birthday present. Danyette had told me it was very close to our motel. She just forgot to inform me that I needed to turn right out of the motel parking lot rather than left. TWO HOURS LATER...we arrived at the Gladwell's house without a gift. Alivia was able to have a really good nap & Ains, Addi, & I saw some beautiful country (love ya Danyette!). Danyette had lunch ready for everyone; sandwiches, chips, & fruit. Yummy! It really hit the spot. After cleaning up we piled into our vehicles & headed to downtown Nashville.
Here we are, the Shaw's & Gladwell's, reunited for a day of fun on Broadway. While in downtown we visited the Ryman Auditorium, home of The Grand 'Ol Opry for many years, walked the streets & saw the many places Tweeb sings at.
This is one of my favorite pics of the 4 big girls (Ellie, Ainsley, Hope, & Addison). They held hands all the time. How cute!!! We headed to an ice cream parlor to cool off & enjoy some yummy ice cream. Then we were off to the famous Wild Horse Saloon. We all loved it! Giant, hand painted horses dressed in cowboy & cowgirl garb adorn the saloon.
This horse greeted us at the entrance. Our girls LOVED him! That evening we got to take a ride on The General Jackson, a huge river boat.We enjoyed visiting with one another, eating dinner, & dancing the night away to the live band.
Downtown Nashville was beautiful in the night sky. It was the perfect way to end a great day.
The next morning, Saturday, June 6th, we drove to the church for Hope's baptism. This was the whole reason we came. We were so excited to be there for this awesome event. We sure miss this little 8 year old!After the baptism we all headed to the motel for a swim. We had a blast! We then rushed to get ourselves ready to go eat at the world famous Loveless Cafe. It was definitely the very best meal we had during our Tennessee visit. We will definitely be going there again. Yum!!! After dinner Tweeb treated the whole family with free tickets to the 3-D version of Up. It was absolutely hilarious & everyone loved it (thanks again Tweeb!).
The following day we all headed back to the church for an awesome fast & testimony meeting. Our hearts were so full that day. We are so grateful that the Gladwell's have such wonderful people surrounding them. After sacrament we headed back to the house for another delicious meal prepared by my fabulous sister, mmmm. We then drove to Franklin to see the temple. Gorgeous!!
We also visited some of Tweeb & Danyette's favorite spots in Franklin. It is a really nice place with lots of places to shop & lots of yummy places to eat. After our ride we headed back to the house for Mya's 2nd birthday party. She got lots of cute clothes & fun toys. Again we had yummy food, this time Texas Sheet Cake & ice cream. Mya Moo has grown up SSSSSOOOOOOO much since they moved to Tennessee. She's adorable & we were so glad we were able to share this day with her.
One of my favorite things in Tennessee were the gigantic, beautiful Magnolia trees. Oh my, do I ever want one!!! They are the prettiest trees I have ever seen & the blooms are huge. I LOVED THEM!!!
On Monday morning Braydan & I dropped the girls off at the Gladwell's house. We then headed to the airport to catch our flight to New York City. In May, we celebrated 10 years of marriage so we decided to go somewhere fun, just the two of us, since that hadn't happened for a very long time. Danyette volunteered to watch our girls while we were away. She is the very BEST sister in the entire world!! We were able to stay at the Michelangelo (highly recommended), a beautiful hotel on 51st & 7th. It was in a great location, just blocks from the theatre district, Time Square, Rockefeller Center, & Carnegie Hall.
Once we unpacked & changed we headed down a few blocks to eat at the Redeye Grill, a fabulous place for seafood. Yum! There was amazing modern art throughout the restaurant (notice the pillar behind us in the next pic).
Then we were headed to our debut Broadway show, Chicago. Little did we know, Chandra Wilson (Grey's Anatomy's Dr. Bailey) was starring as Mama, this being her opening night. We walked up to the Ambassador Theatre, where Chicago was playing, to droves of people & media. We had no idea what was going on as we bypassed all the crazy fans.
We found our seats, G1 & G2 (that's right, 7 rows from the stage) & sat down. It was then that we noticed some of the Grey's Anatomy cast, including the Chief, Dr. Torrez & George. They sat directly across the isle from us. The Chief commented on Brayd's smokin' boots. He could have been commenting because Braydan was the only person in all of New York City in a cowboy hat & boots or maybe because he really liked them. I guess we'll never know but we do know that it was pretty cool. The play was amazing!!! We wish we would've had time to go to another show while we were there. Next time, right? After the show we headed to Time Square, ate some cheese cake, & enjoyed the craziness while we lounged in a couple of lawn chairs that filled the square.
The next day we jumped on our double decker tour bus & headed uptown to the American Museum of Natural History. On the way there we were able to see many New York City landmarks like Columbus Circle, also where the LDS temple is located, the Opera House, & the famous flat iron building. The Natural History Museum sits on the west side of Central Park.
We LOVED this place!!! I have so many pictures of dinosaur skeletons, old saddles from every part of the world, & awesome wildlife exhibits. We will take our kids there one day. After we roamed the museum for a good 4 hours we went to an Italian place called Carmine's for dinner. OH MY... is all I have to say!! We then jumped back on our tour bus & headed back to Time Square.
Remember when I said I wanted a new Buick Enclave? Well this was a life size billboard of my car in Time Square. We walked past it every single day. It is the exact color I want & everything!! We couldn't pass up a pic of me pointing at my future car. That evening we took the Brooklyn Trolley Loop (also on our tour bus). It took us over the Manhattan Bridge right into Brooklyn.
Here is a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge with the New York City Skyline in the background. From Brooklyn we were able to get some fantastic views of the skyline (unfortunately no good pics though). It really is unlike anything we have ever seen. It was amazing & we loved it. We attempted to visit the observation deck at the Empire State Building for some awesome night time views of the city but there was no visibility because of the clouds so we ventured back to Time Square to sit & relax.
The next day we met one of Burns Saddlery's best customers & friend, Randall Steadman for an early lunch near Time Square. Randall lives in Philadelphia & works in Manhattan. He also owns an amazing ranch in Torrey, Utah. He was a wealth of useful information, from where to stay, what to eat, & what to see. We were able to enjoy New York City so much more because of him (thanks a million Randall!) After lunch we traveled back uptown to Central Park. We hopped off the tour bus on the west side of the park & strolled through to the east side where The Metropolitan Museum of Art was, our next stop. The park was so vast & beautiful. I'm sure it is a favorite place for most New Yorkers.
Once we arrived at the museum, we grabbed a map & hit the exhibits that we were most interested in because we knew we didn't have time to see all of them. Braydan & I loved this exhibit. The hall was big, open, & bright white which made these knights in armour just breathtaking. It was almost surreal seeing them covered in elegantly crafted & engraved sheets of metal. Wow!
And who doesn't love Picasso? Here are three of his amazing works.
Later we took the Downtown Loop Tour (also on our double decker tour bus). It winds through Little Italy, Chinatown, the World Trade Center Site, & Wall Street. Our tour guide was hilarious & knew tons of interesting facts about the city, the buildings, & the communities within the city.
What a spectacular view of the Empire State Building. It is huge! But what isn't huge in New York?
Here is a drive by shot of Rockefeller Center. We would love to see it during Christmas. We've heard it is amazing. That night we took the subway to the Empire State Building & headed up to the observation deck. The views from up there were amazing.
This is the Chrysler Building. It was definitely my favorite, just breathtaking.
This is the part of the city where we were staying. Isn't it amazing how Time Square radiates so much light among all those monster buildings? We headed back to Time Square to a really yummy pizza place for dinner (food was great, service SUCKED!!) & then to Juniors for the BEST CHEESECAKE ever (thank you Jami)!!!
The following day we headed back downtown & hopped on a boat that sailed on the Hudson River, taking us to Ellis Island & the Statue of Liberty.
She was beautiful!! We were surprised at how small she was in respect to everything else in New York City. It's a good thing she sits out in the middle of the Hudson, raised up on a pedestal otherwise she would get lost in the midst of all the architecture.
There it is...the New York City skyline. Obviously it was a very foggy, rainy day. I was pretty bummed that this was the best shot we were able to get of the city. Oh well! Once we were off the boat we took the metro to Newark, New Jersey where we met Dean Seratelli, owner of Seratelli Hats. Seratelli is the number one hat brand for Burns Saddlery. Their factory is in Newark so we headed over to see what hat making is all about. There are many, many complicated steps to making a hat & the Seratelli team has it down to a science. It was very interesting. We were able to meet Dean's wife Krystal & brother Peter, who also work in the factory. Dean & Krystal drove us around Newark & the surrounding areas. Some places were VERY SCARY & other places were absolutely beautiful. We then went to the best italian resteraunt we have ever eaten at. It was ssssoooooooo good!!! After dinner they drove us back to our motel where we were able to travel through the Lincoln tunnel which runs underneath the river/ocean (?), amazing. We had a great time with them.
The next morning we packed our things, went to breakfast, picked up a few gifts, & headed back to Tennessee. Tweeb & Danyette met us at the airport where we drove downtown to go to dinner & just have fun with the two of them. We ate at the Wild Horse Saloon which we had visited when we were downtown with the entire family. It was yummy! We then headed back to the Gladwell's house where we visited until the wee hours of the morning. It was so good to visit & laugh with them. We really miss them!
The end of our wonderful vacation had come. We piled in the Gladwell's van while Tweeb escorted us to the airport where we boarded our plane for home. What can we say...it was a great trip!!!
Braydan was only able to be home for one day before he was off to the Reno Rodeo for the remainder of the month. He left the morning of the 15th & got home the evening of the 29th. While he was away the girls & I had fun playing with Pat,
visiting Great Grandpa & Grandma Buchanan at the cabin,
loving on Charli,
camping with my darling, awesome Young Women at Girls Camp,
batting down pinatas at the Shaw family reunion,
& treating Alivia's terrible, horrible rash (still). Wow, what a month!! Maybe now you understand why I have been such a blogging slacker.