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Sunday, December 22, 2013

NYC Birthday Recap

Gosh, I can't believe it's already Sunday, December 22nd.  I never can figure out where the time goes, but I am surely not a fan of a late Thanksgiving/shortened Holiday season. I meant to write a few more posts last week but with preparations in full swing for Christmas, travel, etc. I just ran out of time.  

I'm going to skip this weekend's roundup, but here is a brief(ish) version of events: we had a great weekend and got a lot done.  I am finally to the point where I'm feeling a little less stressed about the impending arrival of Baby Boy Baum.  I think I've finally decided what I want to do in the nursery (now it's just a matter of finding what I'm looking for!); we ordered a crib and a few sheets and agreed on a rocker that won't break the bank among other things.  If we can get a mattress and find a dresser that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, I'll feel okay about where things stand if something happened and we had this baby tomorrow.  If the contractor could ever finish his end of the deal in the nursery that would be awesome, too.  Aside from that, there was a lot of celebrating over the weekend for a different reason - Lilly's bestie, sweet Hadley, turned 2 today (happy birthday sweet girl!) and we had a blast celebrating with her yesterday at her birthday party.  I can't believe these girls are already 2.  The weekend was also filled with lots of family time, present wrapping, baking, and spending time outside in this gorgeous 75-degree weather.

I've been wanting to blog about my surprise birthday trip to NYC while it's still fresh, because it was one of the best surprises and one of the best trips we've ever taken!  My sweet husband truly outdid himself on this one and I am so thankful for him.  I am still impressed with all of the planning and secret-keeping that went into it!  He is so thoughtful and went out of his way to make my 30th so special.  Sweet man.  This is gonna be a long one, so buckle up!

Our original flight was scheduled for 6am on Sunday morning.  EARLY I know, but Dan's reasoning was twofold: one, he managed to score us Book of Mormon tickets for Sunday afternoon (I am not sure what kind of favors he had to call in because this show has been sold out for months and months) and two, the cost difference between the 6am and 8am flight was about $700 per ticket, from what I understand.  Ridic.  We called the airline on Saturday to see how much it would cost for us to get on that 8am flight instead, and because they were expecting bad weather in NYC they were making all flight changes for free AND there happened to be room on that flight.  Score!  We were excited about the extra few hours of sleep.  HOWEVER.  We arrived at the airport on Sunday to check in and realized that the lovely lady that had helped Dan the day before hadn't actually booked us on the flight!  The attendant at the airport said that she could see where the woman started to do it but didn't finish, like she was in a hurry and just trying to get to as many customers as possible.  Luckily, there were still seats on the flight so she booked us without any trouble.  We got through security with about a half an hour to spare and I stopped in the bathroom and then started panicking when they called our  names over the loud speaker mid-stream - they had boarded our flight early and were about to give away our seats!  I am sure the people in the airport were laughing hysterically at the (huge) 7.5-months-pregnant woman attempting to haul @$$ through the terminals (it was bad enough that I had to sit down so Dan could pull my boots off at security because I can no longer reach my feet, ha!).  We made it to the gate literally with seconds to spare, much to the dismay of the people who were about to get our seats.

Flight drama aside, the trip to NY was pretty uneventful.  NYC got between 4-6 inches of snow on Sunday, though, and we later found out that our original 6am flight was delayed until 1:30 pm so we definitely would have missed the show if we'd stayed on that flight -we got SO lucky.  We headed straight to our hotel from the airport (we stayed at the Doubletree in Midtown, which was really nice and very convenient).  Unfortunately, there were no rooms available for early check-in, so we headed out to explore and I wished I'd gotten up 30 minutes earlier to do my makeup because I looked scary.  We got some hot chocolate and walked to Rockefeller Center to see the decorations, did a little shopping (we didn't realize until after L was in bed the night before we left that all of our winter gear was in the attic, and the only access to that is in her room, so we didn't have any gloves or scarves!), grabbed lunch and then headed to the show.

Rockefeller Center selfie (Must. remember. to. wear. makeup. next time. Can you say scary?!)

Book of Mormon EEEEEEE!!!
The Book of Mormon was absolutely phenomenal.  I need to disclaim that statement by saying that you should definitely be aware of what you're going to see when you purchase tickets.  As it was written by the writers of Southpark, I knew what I was getting into.  My mother would have hated it.  As long as you can take it for what it is (and with a grain of salt), it is an excellent show to see.  It's hilarious and very well-done and I am fully in support of every award it's won (a LOT).  There's nothing like a Broadway show in NYC.  

After the show, we headed back to the hotel for a short nap and made an 8pm dinner reservation at El Porron.  Dan didn't make too many plans for us because he wanted me to be able to do what I wanted to do, and this included food.  We thought Spanish food sounded good and I found this restaurant on Zagat, and I swear to you it is one of the best meals that either of us have ever had.  If you live in NYC or ever visit, you cannot leave without trying this place.  We got quite a few tapas and dessert and we both said we could have gone back again for dinner on Monday night; it was THAT good.  The background behind this trip was that I've always wanted to go to NYC in December to see all of the lights and decorations, so after dinner (upon recommendation from a few FB friends) we went to 5th Avenue and walked to see all of the lights.  So much fun.

Dan posing with his porron (sorry don't know how to make an accent on the MAC!), for which the restaurant was named.  We thought this was just a fancy decanter, but it turns out that you're actually supposed to drink out of it and there's an art to it.  By the time dinner was over, Dan was getting rounds of applause and standing ovations from our neighbors at tables on either side of us, the waitress and the owner for his drinking expertise.  

The porron in action

Pretty lights

Pretty window display!  I am pretty sure this was at Bergdorf.

After dinner selfie


He might hurt me for posting this one.

Tiffany & Co.  Does anyone else think it would be neat if you could actually eat breakfast there, like the song/movie?  So nerdy, I know.

The light show at Saks was so pretty!

Back to Rockefeller for some night shots of all of the lights

Rockefeller selfie part deux

Some nice soul took pity on us and helped
After all of the activity from the day I was beat, so we headed back to the hotel for sleep (I did make it until after midnight, for the record…the nap helped!).

On Monday, we slept in and I used Zagat again to find us a spot for brunch.  We ate at Ze Cafe (again can't figure out accents on here ugh!), which was maybe the cutest little restaurant I have ever seen.  Much to my dismay, Zagat did not tell me that crepes and french toast are only on the weekend menu, but the food was still really good.  From there, we did some more shopping and took the subway (can't go to NYC and not take the subway, right?!) over to hit up FAO Schwarz because Dan wanted to see the big piano and I wanted to grab a souvenir for L.  I was actually disappointed to find that they sell a bunch of crap (not sure if it has anything to do with the fact that they were bought by Toys R Us at some point over the past few years?), but it was still neat to go in and it was beautifully decorated for the Holidays.  L only scored two wind-up toys, but luckily she is obsessed with them (especially the one that swims in the bathtub).


Dan: Ummm why are you taking a picture of me buying a subway ticket?

Dan: You are SO weird.

Subway selfie!  I didn't get the memo that you're supposed to be fierce when you're about to ride the subway.

My "fierce" face is awful.

Pretty subway art.

Central Park!

Central Park selfie.  I'm getting good at selfies, as you can see.

Pretty sure Dan was just as excited (if not more so) than the kids he was playing the piano with.

I can't remember the last time that I could see my feet so I didn't know I had a hole in my sock.  I was thinking, "Um, why does he want to take a photo of my feet?!"
After shopping, we grabbed some pizza for lunch and then headed to Central Park to take a carriage ride.  We debated a lot over whether to do this during the day or at night, but since we were already over that way we decided to go ahead during the day. I'm glad we did, except that my husband was real proud of himself for choosing what was probably the ugliest carriage in the entire city for us to ride in.  Seriously, we were riding and people were pointing and laughing.  But our carriage driver was sweet and we were both really glad we took the ride because it was beautiful.  I loved all of the snow!  And it wasn't as cold as I thought it would be, because there were lovely purple blankets to match the purple carriage.

Central Park carriage ride selfie

Our carriage was very…purple. 

Our purple chariot.  I could NOT stop laughing.
After the conclusion of our ride on the purple chariot, we headed back to the hotel for a nap.  We had another late dinner at The National, which was right around the corner from our hotel.  It was very different than the previous night's dinner but still really good.  The short ribs, brussels sprouts and cheese grits were maybe the best things ever.  After dinner, we headed to Grand Central Station for dessert in the form of cheesecake from Junior's and a cupcake (for me) and brownie (for Dan) from Magnolia Bakery.  I inhaled the cheesecake - it was quite literally the best I've ever had - and saved the cupcake in case I wanted a snack later (I was ready to burst at this point and afraid my borrowed coat from Aunt Hopey wouldn't zip over my full pregnant belly, ha!).  Our neighbor, Adria, was in NYC at the same time on a business trip with her Dad so we caught up with them for a drink after our dessert adventure.

Tuesday was the day we were scheduled to leave, so we got up early and I had the previous night's cupcake for my pre-breakfast snack (it was my birthday, dot judge me!).

Dan had one last surprise in store for me - tickets to see The Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!  We found a pretty touristy breakfast spot called Norma's close to Radio City Music Hall and it was OMG GOOD but also seriously expensive.  Worth it, though, for the best blueberry pancakes I've ever had.  Delicious!  The show was just as amazing as I hoped and dreamed it would be - what a great way to spend my birthday morning!  I took a ton of photos but none of them really turned out well so I won't post many.

Gingerbread houses outside of Norma's.  We thought these were so neat!

Another gingerbread house

Radio City selfie

Parts of the show were 3D and I thought the glasses were hilarious.
There was a live nativity!  I know it's hard to see but there were real animals (camels, sheep) on stage.

You'd never know that our seats were actually pretty good by the quality of photos and video that I took!

When we came out of the show it was snowing.  HARD.  I was so excited!!!

We decided that we should probably be safe and head to the airport early (even though our flight wasn't until 4:30) because we were worried about the weather.  We ended up getting through security and to the gate in record time, just as the flight before ours was about to take off.  And wouldn't you know, there were two seats available so they bumped us up?  We found out later that our original outbound flight was delayed for several hours and I think Dan told me that eventually it was cancelled, so that was two times in two days that we got really lucky at the airport.

My parents and Syd kept Lilly for us while we were gone, in case you were wondering.  She had a blast as well judging by the text, photo and video updates we received.  I'm too lazy to upload anymore videos so I'll leave you with the photos of L's two days with her grandparents, but I did get a REALLY cute video of her singing "Happy birthday to Mommy" on Tuesday morning and I may or may not have listened to it at least three times a day ever since.

My little reindeer heading to church on Sunday!

Playing with Uncle David in the church nursery

Snuggling with Syd in Mommy & Daddy's bed before bedtime
Wake-up snuggles with Paw Paw!
So happy to see Carney!
Chick Fil A for dinner (in her jammies!) and she was very excited that she got a cow!

One of many hilarious text updates from my Mom.

I was excited to get home to my girls.
As I mentioned before, this trip was one of the best we've ever taken.  We did some touristy, cheesy things but it was exactly what I wanted - I couldn't have asked for a better birthday surprise, or a better way to spend my 30th birthday!  So, Dan, if you're reading, thank you for being amazing as usual.  :-)  I Love You!

Whew, that was a long one!  Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow (assuming I haven't run myself ragged with last-minute Christmas stuff), and hopefully with a Christmas-related post.  Lots to catch up on, oy.  Happy Christmas break!



  1. AMAZING! What an awesome birthday trip. I still can't believe he surprised you and pulled this off. Incredible. He's a keeper. What a fun weekend. Glad you liked BOM - so wrong, yet so funny! And the food in NYC is the BEST.

  2. Y'all are too cute! What a fun birthday / babymoon trip.


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