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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Ice Ice

In Texas, snow is rare. Actually, any kind of cold weather is quite rare.

This is according to me of course. To me, 45 degrees at Christmastime is nice. It's much nicer than highs of 30 degrees that I left behind in New York. But ask any other Texans, they'll tell you how very very cold 45 degrees is. Hah!

Luckily, we have the Ice Show at the Gaylord Texan Hotel for a lil cold and festive holiday fun! My cousin Ashley and her husband were taking their little boy to see it, so we all tagged along.

This year the theme was "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown." The entire exhibit is carved from huge blocks of ice. I must admit, it was pretty cool. We had so much fun. And there were ice slides! Ice slides! Wee!

Please don't judge the following:
a) Our puffy blue parkas. It was 9 degrees in there! 9 degrees + ice slide = super cool blue parka
b) My dad's hat. It was Grandad's. He found it in the coat closet. HAHAHA

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Surprise Surprise!

I went to Texas very early before Christmas this year. Partially because I like it there during the holidays. But mostly because my mom, sister, brother and sister-in-law had planned a very happy surprise for the weekend before Christmas. YAY!

It was Daddy's 60th birthday this Christmas Eve. We always do something fun for his birthday, but because of the holiday, we never really have a good party. Or go to dinner. Or do anything really birthday-ish. But this year was 60. And let's be honest, 60 is a big deal! A surprise party was definitely in order.

Mom did some serious behind-the-scenes scheming.

We ordered invitations. We made maps to my brother's new house. We invited everyone we could think of, including some of Daddy's oldest friends. We had amazing Tex-Mex catered from Matt's El Rancho (Dad's fave!), complete with Bob Armstrong queso dip and a margarita machine! We had cake. We had a fire pit for the deck.

Oh and! Mom made a really really fantastic slideshow that I wish I had uploaded to YouTube so you could see the hilarious photos of my hippie parents when they were younger. We were ohsoprepared to pull off a really big surprise!

Sunday after church and before a scheduled dinner with Shane & Berit, me, Les and Keith made up some story about going shopping, ending up across town closer to Shane & Berit's house than home, so could Mom and Dad just meet us at their house for dinner?

Dad was grumpy. Why did we need to take 2 cars? Why was Mom concerned about what he was wearing? Shane told him there was a party on his block and nowhere to park. This also annoyed him. Good.

Meanwhile, we had been at Shane's all afternoon getting set up. Starting the fire pit out on the deck, arranging chairs, hooking up the slideshow and making sure we had good tunes. We greeted family and friends that we hadn't seen in years. We were so excited. I'm sure Mom was nervous mess. And then it was time for the big surprise!

Les (addressing the room): Hi! Ok! Dad's almost here, so here's how it will go...Lauren?
LJ (apologizing for lack of voice because I'd been sick): Thanks so much for coming! Shane's watching for their car now. When he comes in, we'll get quiet. And when Dad opens the door we'll yell "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!" Because...if we say "Surprise!" he might not know it's for his birthday...



Les (opens door to Dad's back): Hey Dad...
Daddy (turning around, looking shocked): What the....????

And then my adorable lil niece Sloan runs to him and grabs his legs yelling, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDBUDDY!"

Oh. It was priceless. I couldn't have imagined it going any more perfectly. Such a good surprise!

Shane & Berit - The Hosts!

Getting set-up

"I'm going to Grandbuddy's birthday party tonight."
"Sloan, what are you going to say when Grandbuddy comes in?"

"Happy Birthday! Suuuuurprise!"

No, we didn't use 60 candles...

Lil Miss Sloan may or may not have thought the cake was for her...

Les & Lynley, lots of love for Casey. Nice Case.

Lindsey came to celebrate too! :)

Shane and Les showing everyone how 2-stepping is done.
Because it's just not a party without a lil 2-stepping.

"Grandbuddy, I will help you with these presents, ok?
This one is for you, ok?"

Me and Sloan doing a lil twirling.
"Let's do it again! Again La La!"

She likes all things pink, sparkles, princesses and twirling. And I shall spoil her. Lots.

Love surprises!

Mom successfully threw one heck of a party. Good job Mommy!

I think Sloan had just as much fun at the party as we all did. Such a sweet girl.

Happy Happy 60th Birthday Daddy! Love you!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

i'm back

oh hi! apparently i went on a unintentional bloggy hiatus for the month of december. oops.

but i'm back. back from christmastime festivities in texas. lots of happiness. lots of stories. lots more soon.

i somehow made it to nyc today after snowpocalypse 2010. a lot of my friends are stranded across the country, but fortunately (maybe unfortunately?), my early flight this morning was just fine.

so i'm back. and this is the slushy slushy mess that greeted me upon my arrival to the upper west side this afternoon. courtesy of that pesky blizzard.

this melty slush is much more fun when you don't have to walk around in it. or maneuver large suitcases through it. sledding in the park would be a much more appropriate activity.

can't wait to traipse through slush to work tomorrow. ick. hopefully the heat will be working when i get there.

so....i'm back.

Friday, December 17, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas!

in nyc!

i went to a party at the bryant park christmas tree lighting with my co-workers. there were ice skaters.

and champagne!

and of course there was the pretty christmas tree.

Even the fire stations decorate for the season. oh how i love new york at christmastime.

the lobby in my apartment building is ohsofestive. i smile everytime i pass it.

9a needed a lil christmas cheer too. so me and the roomies headed across broadway to our closest sidewalk christmas tree stand. that's how we do it in new york you see. christmas trees on every corner!

this is our new friend who sold us our christmas tree. he sells trees at this stand from november 21st until christmas. he built the shed himself. impressive.

ta-da! here's our cutie christmas tree.

merry christmas from 9a!

Monday, November 29, 2010

What is it about November?

I remember everything about last November. It wore me out. Literally.

Last November was the month I committed to participate in National Blog Posting Month. Affectionately referred to as NABLOPOMO. 30 posts in 30 days. Whew, success! And let’s be honest, a lil stressy.

Last November was also when Jamie left New York. It was the month I spent saying goodbye to one of my very best friends. And it was rough on me. I blogged about it here. She blogged it here, here and most recently, here.

Now she’s been gone for an entire year. I feel mixed emotions. Like...She just left, surely it can't have been a year already! Then...She's been gone for forever, so much has changed! And I still miss my friend every day.

If you ask me, that's enough to deal with this November. But no no. This November has more plans to mess with me.

This November I find myself saying goodbye again. This time to another New York bestie. Hey November, cut it out.

Y’all know my friend / partner in crime, Angie. I met her a few months after moving to the City at the end of the summer in 2006. She was in my very first small group at Gallery Church. She had a knack for telling stories that made you double over in laughter. She came to NYC from Florida via a short stint in Atlanta. She was a Florida Gator with a ridiculous amount of school pride. Even if it was the ugly orange. We were immediate friends.

Angie has a slight addiction to traveling. She hooked us up with an awesome Spring Break ’07 cruise to nowhere – arguably one of my favorite memories of my new life in New York. We did the Bahamas in style. She was a finalist for Australia’s Best Job in the World contest. We’ve gotten into all kinds of trouble all over Manhattan (and Hoboken). She celebrates her birthday like no one else I know…as chronicled here -- 25th Marathon Bday Bash, 27th Adventures in Atlantic City, 28th Karaoke Queens and most recently 29th Gleek Out.

Angie’s a mess. Together we are a hot mess. She insists that I have a cartoon voice and does (what she claims to be…) a spot-on impression of me. She was one of my bloggy mentors when I decided to start blogging…she even helped with my bloggy name. (“If I were naming your blog, I’d call it La La La Lauren…and I’m smart too!”) She has been one of my very best friends for over 4 years. She’s one of my New York ‘people.’ She gets me. And now she’s leaving me.

Granted, Angie’s reasons for leaving the City are probably not what you think. She’s not leaving New York to move to a different city or start a new job. She is off to travel the world in her 29th year. This comes as no surprise I guess. But still. She’s leaving. Packing up, selling everything she can’t take with her and heading off on a year-long round-the-world adventure. And after a year, who knows where she’ll end up.

I’m really proud of her for being so brave. For really following her dreams. For doing what everyone said she’d never really do. That takes serious independence, serious determination and serious guts.

Maybe living in New York, I should get used to saying goodbye. It is such a transient city after all. But you know what? I don’t think you get used to saying goodbye to your ‘people.’ Saying goodbye is pretty tough.

I’m gonna miss this girl like crazy.

(Sorry Ange, I know you don’t do sentimental. But it had to be said. Just deal.)

And I leave you with a recent conversation on our last Sunday night dinner date…

BAA: LJ! What are you going to do when I’m gone?!? You’re going to run amuck without me here!!
LJ: Oh puh-leez! Allow me to remind you that most of the muckiness I get into has been WITH YOU my friend!
BAA: Well. Alright. Touché.

Love you Ange. I’m excited for your adventures. But me and November are now fighting, and I refuse to say goodbye again this month. So I’ll just see you soon. Sound good? Perhaps in Oz!

p.s. I guess you can follow Angie on her adventures at her new Angie Away website if you'd like. Since she really does appear to be leaving, in 4 short days...and I'm clearly in denial.