This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Monday, May 18, 2015

New York, New York!!!

We got up early and went to the train station in Baltimore. We hopped on a train headed to New York! It was really fun being on the train, a much easier way to travel than an airplane. We saw all kinds of interesting things on our way. I snapped some pictures of graffiti covered buildings. The train station was very busy!
We arrived at Penn Station, which was all underground. We walked up through the main stairway and this was our first sight! The city was so alive and so loud! It was very exciting!
We looked down 34th street and saw the spectacular Empire State Building! We have officially arrived!!!
We don't look like tourists or anything do we? haha
Madison Square Garden!!!
This town definitely has a vibe to it. I was kind of nervous at first, but soon got used to it. I was comforted by the site of police vehicles everywhere. People are very busy running from here to there and no one bothered us except for a few street vendors peddling tickets to see the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and other touristy places.
We went inside the Empire State Building to get our tickets for our bus tour of the city, walking tour of Ground Zero and the boat ride to the Statue of Liberty. We didn't go to the top, but it was fun to be in this building.

I wanted to mention that my brother-in-law, Mark, was so kind and made all of the arrangements for us for our whole trip! We are so thankful for his hard work!
We jumped on a double decor bus where they gave us ear buds for our tour. The bus drivers were very knowledgeable and fun. We learned a lot about the Big Apple.
The buildings are absolutely incredible. They are so tall and made so beautifully. A lot of them have cast iron facades and the detailing is unbelievably exquisite.
There's beautiful old buildings, but also very cool new architecture like this one. Notice the cool curved windows.
I loved seeing the typical New York sights, but it was fascinating to me to see regular neighborhoods where people actually work and live.
I was so excited to get a real New York pretzel from a street vendor!
We worked our way down to Lower Manhattan and could not believe it when we saw the new World Trade Center also called the Freedom Tower. It is breathtaking! I have never ever seen anything so tall in my life. It is 1776 feet tall which is a deliberate reference to the year when the Declaration of Independence was signed.
We hooked up with our tour guide who, again, was very knowledgeable and had such a passion for the events of 9/11. He was born and raised in Manhattan and was working at a local hospital on that fateful day. His brother was a NY police officer and was a first responder. It was very moving to hear his very personal perspective. We visited St. Paul's Chapel of Trinity Church, which served as a resting place for some of the recovery workers of the World Trade Center site. The scuff marks on the white bench above is from their work boots as they laid on the benches to rest. The memorials were so sobering.
Another view of the Freedom Tower.
The 9/11 Memorial was simply breathtaking. It is two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools in the exact footprint of the original towers. To me, the design is so perfect. It gives wonderful tribute to the people who perished and yet brings life, hope and renewal. The hole in the center where the water flows down represents eternal tears. The names of all of the victims are etched on the marble railing all around the waterfall. They have security guards standing guard making sure no one leans on or sits on the railing or shows any disrespect to the names. A yellow rose is placed on each name on the day of their birth.
We then went into the museum, which was very solemn. I remember that day like it was yesterday and to see the destruction first hand is very moving. There was a section of more personal items like shoes, keys and cell phones which I think touched me the most. May God rest their souls and comfort all of the families.
Stock photo New York City
After the tour was over we headed back to catch our double-decker bus to get back to our hotel. I was so bummed because my phone died and I didn't get any more pictures. One scene I wish that I could have captured was at 5:00, while looking down W 14th street towards Union Square, we saw a huge sea of people walking towards us probably 8 to 10 people abreast, working people with briefcases walking at a very fast pace (I found this photo on the net) probably heading to the subway to get back home after a long days work. It was so cool to see it!
Stock photo Blaggard's Pub
It was getting dark and the bus took a different tour home through more seedy parts of town. We saw an abandoned hospital where homeless people now live. We heard sirens and it was kind of scary for this small town girl, but we were just passing through. We walked back to the area of our hotel and saw so many cool things, we saw Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Center and the famous ice rink (which was disappointingly smaller than I had imagined), we walked by NBC Studios, Garment District, Bryant park and Macy's where the Miracle of 34th street was filmed! We ate dinner at a fun Irish Pub called Blaggard's that reminded me so much of the bar on Cheers.
I actually laughed out loud when I saw the hotel lobby, for how huge NY is, the lobby was the tinniest hotel lobby I have ever seen. Real-estate is a commodity, so New Yorkers are so used to things being crammed into small spaces. Their answer is to build up of course!
This little hotel was 40 stories high! I was amazed at what they squeezed into our small room. There were only six rooms per floor. It was fun and exciting to stay the night in the big city!
The next morning we woke up early to the sounds of the busy street below. People in New York start early!
I had a little minute while my hubby was in the shower so I went outside to tour the street.
It was alive and fantastic!
I walked all around the block to see busy New Yorkers starting their day. I was fascinated to peer inside these basement doors. They were open to the local restaurants and businesses as they were receiving their morning deliveries.
This fruit stand is beautiful! I had to get back because we had to catch the bus as we were heading to Battery Park to catch the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty!
This amazing piece of sculpture was in the center of the park with an eternal flame at the base.
Stock photo
It's called The Sphere and once lived at the center of the World Trade Center at the center of a fountain. This is what it used to look like, it was beautiful.
Stock photo
This is what it looked like after 9/11. Such devastation, but I think it is so cool that they salvaged it and it still serves a purpose of art as well as a memorial to all the lost lives.

We walked out to the pier and first laid our eyes on the Statue of Liberty. We got on the ferry and drove around her.
Lady Liberty stands tall and proud. It was very moving to see her!
What a gorgeous sight to see the Statue with the New York skyline.
We did a selfie to send back home, Oregon Duck hats and all!
Next we went to Ellis Island.
It was very moving to see this grand place where so many immigrants came through to the land of opportunity! I am looking into seeing if we had any family members come through here.
God bless America!!!
We had such a fun time.
One more look before we head back to New York.
Instead of taking the bus back, we took a taxi, which was so New York and actually fun.
We grabbed some lunch a fun sports bar by Madison Square Garden called Brother Jimmy's BBQ. It was delicious. We sat by the window and people watched, it was fascinating! My father-in-law did so well in New York. We walked quite briskly all throughout our trip and he kept up with no problems at all. He is in excellent shape and has a a great attitude, he never complained once! He's a wonderful man.
We went back to Penn Station and got back on the train. What a lovely time we had in New York.
We took a shuttle from the train depot to the parking garage and I left my glasses on the bus. The bus driver drove back to us to give me my glasses back. I was very touched by that!
We ordered pizza for dinner and got up early the next day to say our goodbyes to Mark and Barbara. We had a wonderful time with them. What a fantastic, memorable 80th birthday celebration for Jim!
We boarded the plane and headed due west! We had a small layover in Denver and then were Oregon bound!
We got so excited when we looked out the window and started recognizing our beautiful State! There's the snow covered mountains and the green valley!
We had the most amazing trip and saw many beautiful things, but the best sight of all was our home sweet home!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Hugs, Sharon

Friday, May 15, 2015


 I've been meaning to post about our little trip to Maryland for some time now and finally I'm doing it! In April my husband, Eric, and I took his father, Jim, back east to visit Eric's brother, Mark, and his family.
They had us packed in there like sausages.
 We are not travelers, this is only the second time my husband and I have gone on a big trip like this. The first time was about 25 years ago before all of the security crack downs, so I was really nervous about getting through security check and all the way through the airport to make our connecting flights, especially with my 80 year old father-in-law. So while I was excited to see the family and the sights, I was a little anxious.
 We made it! We flew into Baltimore where my brother-in-law picked us up. Our flights were uneventful and we made our connecting flights just fine! My father-in-law did awesome!
 That night we had a lovely family dinner and we celebrated Jim's 80th birthday! Mark and Barbara have three children, but their oldest daughter Jillian was abroad and their son, Nick, was at college. Their youngest child, Michaela was home though and it was great to see her. Their home is absolutely gorgeous and it was so much fun to catch up with Barbara!
 The next day we took a little trip south to Annapolis and saw a ship museum, did a little shopping and had lunch.
 That night after dinner we had a fun relaxing time. Barbara and I talked and the guys watched Gettysburg to learn more about the Civil War because the next day we were going to Gettysburg National Park in Pennsylvania.
 The drive was fantastic, there's so much beautiful land to look at. We stopped and ate lunch at this amazing old restaurant called The Dobbin House. It's the oldest building in Gettysburg. It originally served as a home for the Dobbin family. It is believed to have been the first station of the Underground Railroad. It served as a field hospital for both Union and Confederate casualties even though it was in range of the war and was frequently struck by shellfire! We ate in the tavern in the basement and it was so cozy, fun and delicious!
 As we headed up to the Gettysburg museum, we saw these cross fences everywhere. They are so interesting. The museum was amazing. We saw the huge Gettysburg diorama which was an excellent overview of the battlefield.
 We climbed to the top of the Pennsylvania State Memorial and saw an amazing view of land where the battle took place. We learned so much an really enjoyed our time at Gettysburg.
 When we got home Barbara had dinner for us! We had delicious enchiladas.
 The next day we all got in the car and drove to the Amish country in Pennsylvania. The farms were incredible.
 We went to a cute little town called Bird in Hand, PA.
 Everything was so cute. We went to a fantastic market and antique stores. We saw horse and buggies everywhere we looked! I found some wonderful treasures.
 We had lunch in Lancaster and a really neat restaurant called Plain and Fancy. I ordered made from scratch golden fried chicken with shoepeg corn and corn fritters and Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer which is very similar to root beer. It was delicious!
 We continued to drive through the beautiful countryside.
 Our next destination was Philadelphia.
We booked a walking tour in the Old City. Our tour guide was really enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We saw many, many great things. We started the tour with the home of Betsy Ross. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go inside, but it was fun to see it.
 We went down the oldest road in the city made of cobblestone and had so many charming apartments.
 Then we toured Christ's Church and we sat in the very pew where George Washington and his family once sat! This church is so beautiful and is a great example of Georgian Colonial architecture. All of the churches was saw had cemeteries in their courtyards and Christ's Church actually had people buried in the floor of the sanctuary!
 We then saw Independence Hall, which was so beautiful. All of the buildings were so impressive and the amazing thing is how new they look, yet they are all over 250 years old! Unfortunately, we did not go inside. We did, however, see the Liberty Bell, but it was through a window. The line to see it was crazy long.
We were so moved to be standing on the very ground where our forefathers once walked and where they founded our country.
 We saw the beautiful tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary Ward Soldier with an eternal flame.
 Of course we had to have a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich while in Philly!
The next day the whole family went to church and then we just had a nice quiet relaxing afternoon at home. This was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip!!!
God is so good and I believed He knew that I needed this get away exactly when it came along. We had planned this back in October of 2014 for April of 2015 and it so happens that's when my son's divorce was final and my daughter-in-law decided to post it on Facebook and then I did. I posted it Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning we left our house at 5:00 am and got on the plane. My mind was preoccupied with the trip and it was just exactly what I needed. God is so good!
That night we had a fun family dinner and relaxing evening. We needed to get to bed early because the next day we headed to New York City!!!

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

Hugs, Sharon
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