- each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, with the fresh yes of an adventurer -

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

LGA Bound

The following takes place at the American Airlines ticket counter -- DFW International Airport --

LJ: Hi there!

Nicest AA Attendant of All Time: (smiling, in reference to my entire family now standing at the ticketing desk with me) Are they sending you back home?

LJ: Haha, oh yes. Mom always hates it when I leave.

Mom: Well, I just don't know when she'll be back!

NAAAofAT: Oh, are you Mom? Yes, I know how you feel!

LJ: (lifting huge suitcase onto scale w/help from Les) This one is going to be real heavy.

NAAAofAT: (as the scale registers 61 lbs) Uh oh...You want to reorganize? Ok, take out your jeans, those are about 5 lbs a piece. What else do you have in there?

LJ: (repacking suitcases at the check-in counter. awesome.) Oh I just have so much more stuff to take back, I didn't do very good packing this year!

Mom: She got a new coat...

LJ: And 2 new pairs of boots...

Dad: Well, it's Christmas...

NAAAofAT: Yes, it's that time of year. Let's try it now.

Les: (lifting again) Yikes. 57 lbs. Is that right?

LJ: Ugh. Ok, see if my coat will fit in that small one. This is so annoying! Let's see how this is.

Mom: Well, I can just ship some things to you if it's still too heavy!

NAAAofAT: Well we're taking it no matter what it weighs.

Les: (lifting once more) 54 lbs.

NAAAofAT: Don't worry Honey, I won't let you go home without your Christmas presents!

LJ: Really?? Oh! Thank you so much!!!

NAAAofAT: You're very welcome. Have a safe trip and come back to see them soon.

What a pleasant public suitcase repacking experience!

Love her, Nicest AA Attendant of All Time.
Love Texas. Love my Dad, Mom and sweet sister.
I miss you already!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Christmastime at the Johnson house is a several day affair.

Mostly because Christmas Eve is also my Daddy's birthday. So there's all kinds of celebrating going on.

Christmas Eve morning I woke up to a precious lil 20-month-old singing her ABC's and chattering about Santa and his reindeer. We spent all day playing the day before and she intends to pick up right where we left off. She dances around to Christmas carols and helps us wrap up the last of the presents. "Presents!!!" she says. Over and over and over.

Also, by some strange turn of events, it was snowing in Texas on Christmas Eve. Yes. Snowing. Not sleeting. Not wintery mix. Real snow. It started around noon and came down hard all day long until well after dark. I am baffled by snow in Texas in December. Especially when the day before was about 73 degrees and rainy. Huh?

But even though the snow didn't really stick to the ground until later at night, it didn't stop us from going outside to enjoy it...

"Sloan, what do you do in the snow?"
She sticks out her tongue and turns in circles to catch snowflakes. "Ahhhhhh"
I. Adore. Her.

We spend the day cooking yummy treats for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day festivities. We wrap up the last of the presents and even venture out to the grocery store for last minute supplies.

We all pile into the cars for the Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at church. We sing about Jesus and Bethlehem and we're all reminded the true meaning of this holiday.

We spend the night jamming out to Christmas music. Daddy opens his birthday presents. Sloan opens her new basketball goal from Nai Nai and GrandBuddy. She opens her "Hello Hook 'Em" book from Me and Les. "Hook Em" she says. Over and over and over. She almost has more fun with the torn paper than the goal. Her excitement is infectious!

And then the real fun begins. Game night. This year we played Pictionary. Les and I always dominate at Pictionary. I'm not sure why they still take us on. We quickly take the lead against Mom / Dad and Uncle Jay / Susan. They still think we cheat. But it's legit. I swear. We are just that good. The entire game is hilarious, frequently involves raised voices and always guarantees a good time. Dad retraces his drawings while Mom continues to guess blindly. Jay draws squiggly lines that may or may not represent the United States? Me and Les keep it simple. That's the key to success. This year's winner? "Numb." Yep. I drew Numb. And she got it right. You can just call us Pictionary Champions.

And tomorrow, Christmas Day, Mom and Dad will wake us up. Because we never wake up on our own anymore. We'll have some Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee. We'll take our time opening our gifts, excited to surprise each other. And then we'll head over to Aunt Cyndi and Uncle Jeff's house. We'll have lots of (read: too much) delicious food. We'll watch football. We might even have Pictionary round 2. There's nowhere else I'd rather be.

And at the end of these few days, this family celebration of Christmastime, filled with our own traditions. It will not have been about us.

It will have all been about Him and the celebration of His birth. The celebration that God sent His son. Immaculately. Humbly. Unglamourously. To sacrifice himself as our savior. And this is the celebration that I can't wait to be a part of each year.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

~ Luke 2:11-14

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Deleted Scenes Part 2

Walking through Union Square on Friday night with 2 friends...

Random Guy from Jersey: Excuse me ladies. My friend and I were just on our way back to the PATH train. And because there's no way we're going to follow you wherever you're going tonight, I thought I'd just stop you.

Blank stares all around from us.

Jersey: You're all cute, but I have a thing for blondes and your friend is pretty. And I was hoping to flirt with her a little bit. Would that be ok with you? If I flirted with her? Is she cool? Does she have a boyfriend?

Friend Julia, visiting from South Carolina: Giggling. Umm...I...or...yes...she's...cool.

Jersey: Ok great, I promise I won't keep her long. (to me) Your name?

LJ: I'm Lauren.

Jersey: Do you have an amazing personality that goes with that amazing smile?

LJ: Um, I like to think so. (???)

Jersey: So you're going to give me your phone number and I'll call you right now so that you have my number. And I'll give you a call this weekend, we'll hang out. Where are you from Lauren?

LJ: I live in the city. But I grew up in Texas.

Jersey: Really, Texas? You don't even have an accent. So. Your number?

Yes. That. Happened.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New York at Christmastime

Everyone loves New York at Christmastime. That's why December = Visitors.

There's something magical about this city at Christmas. It sparkles.
The lights. The store window displays. The crisp chilly air. The Christmas tree at Rockafeller Center. The outdoor holiday shops at Union Square, Grand Central, Bryant Park and Columbus Circle. The nightly colored lights of the Empire State Building. The shimmery snowflake suspended in the middle of 5th Ave. The smell of Christmas trees on every street corner. The outdoor ice skating rinks. The Salvation Army bells ringing. Macy's and Miracle on 34th Street.
All of these things. They captivate you. Walking around the city, you can't help but get wrapped up in the wonder and charm of the holiday season.

I love New York at Christmastime. I love all these things that light up the city and brighten spirits of busy New Yorkers. These things that bring thousands of tourists to the city during the holidays. I complain about the crowds, yes. But can I blame them for wanting to experience this? I don't think so.

A few glimpses of my city at it's finest over the past few weeks...

Macy's Department Store

Blue and White Empire State Building

Ice Skating at Bryant Park

The Christmas Tree

Ice Skating at Rockafeller Center

The 5th Avenue Snowflake

Everyone loves Christmastime in New York. Because Christmastime in New York is magical.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December = Visitors part deaux

Mom and friends left on a Sunday afternoon.
And BFF Lindsey arrived from Dallas for her bi-annual visit the following Friday.
I told you, December = visitors.
I think Linds likes to visit right after Mom visits. This is the 2nd time it's happened.

Good thing I don't have to make plans for her. Because I sure didn't have time. She's always up for anything. And we're real good at walking around the city. So that's exactly what we did!

Most notable weekend adventures include. . .

1. An impromptu invitation to the "Buns & Puns" comedy show. Where they serve homemade buns and jello shots during a stand up comedy routine. Shocked we decided it probably wasn't our scene?

2. Matching white knit winter hats. A necessity in these frigid temperatures.

3. Crowds. Ugh. We did walk past Macy's quickly. But we definitely did NOT wait in line to ice skate at Bryant Park.

4. Rules of a Public Restroom - "No Bathing. No Shopping Carts. No Grooming. No Luggage."

5. Leggings are in no way warmer than jeans. Just sayin'.

6. Static electricity. Interesting. How to get rid of said static electricity? No ideas.

7. Haters...
Random sketchy guy in bar: "What does she know? She's wearing a grey sweater and she's from Texas."
Sir, we're going to have to ask you to walk away from us now.

8. Spotted: Twilight Dolls. Edward and Bella.

At FAO Schwarz. Yes, seriously.
Linds and I were...well...intrigued? They expect us to believe that this doll with the luscious locks is Bella? Um, no. She's more like Victoria. Good try, but we're not this easily fooled.

9. Close encounters with subway rats. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew.

10. Watching Taylor Lautner host SNL. And then re-watching Taylor Swift's SNL. We love both Taylor's.

Always love Lindsey's visits! And love running around NYC at Christmastime.

Next week: Round 2 adventures in Big D when Linds picks me up at the airport and we hit the malls for more shopping. :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Taylor Lautner does SNL

Oh yes he did. And it was real funny.
Particularly his monologue.

Linds and I watched it twice. And then we re-watched Taylor Swift's monologue.

Sidenote: Apparently I really like SNL monologues. Or maybe I just like Taylor's.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Too Soon?

Is December 2nd too soon for Christmas music? Oh I think not!

Here is this year's Holiday Pandora station,
created on 12/2, still at the top of my Pandora list --

Taylor Swift's "Holiday Collection" + Michael Bublé's "Let it Snow" + Mariah Carey's "Merry Christmas" + Amy Grant's "Home for Christmas" = Best of the best Christmasy song mix!

Martina AND Kelly AND 98 degrees?! Does Christmas music get any better than this?!

I love it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December = Visitors

Mom came for a visit last week!

She brought her friends, Ms. Betsy and Ms. Earnestine.

They did a lot of exploring and were very cultural. Good thing Mom has been here so many times that she can navigate the city by herself. I just joined for the fun things!

The week went by so quickly and we had a blast. Even though it was rainy and gross on Saturday. And the Hell's Kitchen traffic almost made us miss Memphis on Saturday night. We did some things that I hadn't done before and of course a lot of my favorites.

I always love visitors and I really love Mom's visits. Especially at Christmastime!

I really love the Christmas Tree at Rock Center

And the ice skating rink

View from the Top of the Rock

It was a lil bit chilly at the top! But the city at night? Incredible.

The fantastic Radio City Rockettes will absolutely put you in the Christmas spirit!

West Village dinner at Extra Virgin - one of my faves!

Van Gogh's "Starry Night" at the MoMa

Sunday Morning stroll through Central Park

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

the challenge: complete!

coming off of this "a blog a day" challenge,
a few things i've learned about myself from NaBloPoMo --

  1. i am not a very good spontaneous writer. i did best during the weeks when i planned out what to write - or had half-written posts ready to go. ok, maybe i already knew this about me - i am a planner. and a list-maker. i can't escape!

  2. when i'm busy, i get stressed that i won't have time to write anything worth reading. exhibits a, b and c.

  3. my favorite posts were the ones i spent the most time on.

  4. my mom's favorite post is the one i wrote while laying on angie's bed, annoyed with myself for having nothing to say on day 18. figures.

  5. elizabeth and jamie's blog carnival was the best part of this whole month. i loved reading other posts on HOME and being introduced to new blog friends.

  6. perhaps bethany and i should just share a blog. we are entirely too similar. please don't stop reading my blog if you also read hers. i swear we're different. really, we are. :)

  7. i was constantly thinking about what i'd write next. i think i will be more productive at work in december. (and get more sleep!)

  8. sometimes it's harder to think of things to say when you know you have to say something. anything. i still have a handful of half-written posts that i have yet to finish. i mean, i guess that counts for something?

  9. i have a lot of incredible blogger friends. they write hilarious, entertaining and insightful things. and i always enjoy reading what they have to say.

  10. i know just enough html to be dangerous. good thing i'm a resourceful googler.

  11. i like to write. of course i knew this before i started a blog. but through this month, i have rediscovered my love for writing. i remembered that do kind of have a way with words. and it makes me happy.
so the 30 blogs in 30 days challenge is over. i think it's safe to say that while i did enjoy NaBloPloMo, i am pretty happy that it's finished. it's tough to commit to writing something everyday. i had to try hard not to make posts sound like diary entries. (although, it may seem like that's exactly what i did...but i really tried not to!)

ALSO! this is my 100th blog post! 10 months of blogging, 100 posts. hah, you would have thought i planned it to be so balanced. if i had, i would be an even better planner than i thought i was!