Friday, June 27, 2014

Garden City trip and more NYC pics!

Happy Friday everyone!!  Aaron and I are excited about having a weekend without travel!  We have a fence to build, and brush to clean up around the house. I have a flower bed to weed, and GREEN BEANS TOMATOES, CUCUMBERS, and YELLOW SQUASH to pick!  Can you tell I am excited?   Okay, so the weekend after we got home from the East Coast we headed West to Garden City, KS for some fun events!  First up, Aaron and I sang at a Stucky family wedding reception!  The Stucky family has adopted the Billings as part of their own and we feel honored!  Brad and Raquel Stucky got married in Maine and chose to have a reception in Kansas as well (Brad is our Brother-in-law's brother)  The most fun part was that Aaron and I got asked to sing a country song at their reception!  We sang Cowboy Take Me Away by the Dixie Chicks. 

Makenah was the flower girl!  She has grown up so much since she was our flower girl a year and a half ago!

One of our favorite parts of the weekend was when Makenah made up songs and played Uncle Bear's guitar!  By the way, Aaron traded in a few manly possessions for a Martin guitar!  He is very happy with his trade!

On Monday, Aaron had a Radon Mitigation to complete close by and so I got to spend the morning with my sister-in-laws and the two cutest kids!

After returning home, I recently went shopping with Rachel.  Rachel is one of my good friends living in Hesston!  We work together at Cooper and I totally love hanging out with her little family of 3!  So enough said, she took me to a store called Gordman's.  Why haven't I heard of this store before??  It reminds me a lot of TJMaxx.  After cruising around the store I found the perfect bench for our Gray and Yellow themed guest room!  I have been looking for a bench or chair for awhile and finally found it!!  Whoo hoo!  Thanks for taking me Rachel!

In other news, Aaron and I made Bierocks this week!  So yummy!  The dough was delicious and the filling was spot-on with beef and cabbage! (It's in the More With Less cookbook)

Lastly, I will leave you with some GREAT family pictures that I received from my dad this week!  Thanks so much dad!  He has a good camera and we asked total strangers, and waiters to take pictures of our group!  We missed traveling with Phil though. Hopefully next time he'll be able to make it!   

Can you spot Lady Liberty on the left?  Ellis Island is in the middle-right of the picture.  

We stopped at a restaurant in Times Square to eat!

Brooklyn Bridge at night!

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!  Love you all!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

East Coast Trip

And we're finally back home in Kansas after a big trip East!  We had planned a fun trip to VA, PA, and NYC!  There is so much to tell you all about!  I will attempt to tell you the most memorable things that we did!  We were warmly welcomed home by a cookout with our Yutzy family and Risser Grandparents!  We miss both sets of people dearly and it was so good to see them!  We cooked out, fished, got caught in a thunderstorm, and played games together!  Thanks for planning this mom!

Klines trip!  For you Western folk, this is the local ice cream joint in Harrisonburg, VA.  It's delicious!!

Okay so after a few days of seeing friends and family in Virginia, we piled in the van to head towards Bethlehem, PA!  My brother and sister-in-law recently moved here to begin their residency.  Whoo hoo!  They have a big house and lots of space to spread out finally!  Nate and Maggie cooked us an amazing mexican meal and then we played a new game with them called, Pandemic, in the evening.  Doctor people are good at this game.  After sleeping one night at their house we got up super early to drive 1 1/2 hours to NYC!!!!  We were all pumped!  We arrived in NYC and went straight to our hotel called the Seafarers International House.  Before I go any further, I have to mention that my dad takes a group of high school students to NYC every other year and they stay at this hotel.  So, my dad was our tour guide with his wealth of knowledge of the city!  We can't say enough how much we appreciate him planning this trip for us!   (Oh, I have to add that the community shower and bathroom wasn't as bad as we thought!)

Okay, so then we unloaded our belongings and headed towards the Statue of Liberty ferry boat ride!!

The ferry boat ride was a highlight for both Aaron and I!  The ferry was PACKED with people on the top deck, which was the best place to grab a picture of Lady Liberty.  We took so many pictures so I am restraining myself here :)

Do you see the skyscrapers in the background??  Such a cool back drop!

Union Square is where we caught the metro for the two days that we toured the city.  The hotel was 2 blocks from the square and was very convenient.  Even after 2 days we were getting to memorize the different stops.  The metro is an experience in itself full of music, strollers, fast walkers, closing doors, crowds of people, tunnels, and load noises.  Sunday morning we heard a little boy playing a keyboard!

Next, we got to walk around Times Square!  I have always wanted to experience this!  So many people dressed up in costumes trying to make money, taxis, street venders, shops, street food, and more! Do you see Minnie Mouse on the corner!  

If you look closely you can see the lite up 2014 ball from New Years Eve!  I almost missed this because I kept forgetting to look UP.  There is so much to see in front of you that I forget there are things above me.

I couldn't take any pictures of the Broadway show that we attended Saturday afternoon.  Boo!  We watched Mamma Mia!  It was filled with dancing and singing and was quite the production!  Such a fun experience because Aaron and I had never been to one before!  

After the Broadway show we were exhausted, so we crashed at the hotel for an hour and got ready for dinner and shopping in Chinatown!  I remember being in Chinatown as a kid.  This place is just packed with shops, people, seafood, trinkets, and LOTS of chinese restaurants.  We also visited Little Italy, which was just the same but with Italian restaurants.  The streets are just loaded and you really have to watch where you are going!  So my dad took us to this GREAT chinese restaurant tucked in the streets called Joe Shanghai.  This place was amazing!  They have the best dumplings and we were totally stuffed by the end!

Dad knows the owner and really enjoys bringing his high school kids here!

After we got our fill of shopping and eating we decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!!  This was another highlight for Aaron and I!  It was beautiful to see the city at night.  This city really NEVER sleeps.  ha!  My phone didn't take a good picture of the bridge, but sometime I'll add my dads camera pictures on here for you to see.  

Phew!  Day 1 was complete!  

Day 2 consisted of eating a yummy breakfast and heading towards the Empire State Building.  We hopped on the metro and headed Uptown.  Once inside the building we took 1 elevator up to the 80th floor.  Then, for some odd reason, we have to get off and take a different elevator up to the 86th floor.  This didn't take long at all!  The crowds were small on Sunday and we were very fortunate!

What a view!  This picture is facing south towards the statute of liberty on the right, and the Freedom tower standing in the very middle at the tip of Manhattan.  Beautiful!  (Hardly any green different than Kansas.  The one small green spot on the left side is where we stayed, Union Square.)

Did you want to see what the Freedom tower looks like standing on the ground??  IT IS SO TALL!  Yikes!  I'm told it's made of mirrors to reflect the blue sky!  

Still hanging in there readers?  This is like my longest post EVER!  Almost done though!

Here are the most fun travelers ever!  We had to get re-fueled after going up the Empire State Building. Coffee, tea, pop, and a green smoothie for the crew.  Oh I just saw in the top right corner of this picture you can see the red Macy's store sign!  It would be so fun to see the Macy's parade some day.

Next up, 9/11 memorial.  As a kid I was able to go up the twin towers and I remember being in the observation deck.  Now, to come back and see this is completely crazy.  The memorials are beautifully crafted.  There are 2 memorials, 1 at the base of where each tower stood.  You can see in the picture that the center waterfall has the appearance of falling to infinite.  This is so cool.

The entire way around the memorial are the names of the first responders, and people who died during the attack.  You can also see that the whole way around the memorial are Oak trees with a very intricate irrigation system.  I am very impressed with this memorial, and the size of both waterfalls.

And our final stop was Wall St.  This is not an impressive picture of the bull on Wall St. because there is always a crowd of people standing around it and you can't get any space for a picture!  Grrrr.  Dad got a good one that I will add sometime soon.

Wall Street sign!!  So cool!!  In the past couple of years the stock exchange has not allowed visitors inside.  This would have been a cool experience to go inside, but it was just fun to be in the financial district!

Finally, we caught the metro back to Union Square, got the van, and headed towards the traffic jam to get out of the city.  What an awesome trip!!

I will leave you all with the sweetest picture of my entire trip!!  Tamara is one of my best friends from college, and I FINALLY got to meet Lucas Christian!  Monday, after returning from NYC, I drove to Charlottesville to see her!  We swam in the pool, which Lucas loved, made dinner and played with the babe!  I wish so bad that we could live closer!!