New York City

 

I had a business trip to NYC this past Sunday and Monday.  But since that didn’t start until Sunday I invited my awesome sister-in-law, Leslee, to fly up and meet me in NYC for a girls weekend.

We had a great time.  A GREAT time.  We did a lot and saw a lot…..Little Italy, China Town, knock off purses and bracelets, The 9/11 Memorial, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Bull on Wall Street, WICKED on Broadway, Central Park, Penn Station, taxi rides, Millennium Hotel on Broadway, Times Square, Empire State Building, the Subway system, Bryant Park, Tiffany’s, Broadway, 5th Avenue, The Statue of Liberty, pumpkin ravioli, and the best ever sangria.   We walked.  A lot.  We rode the subway some too when we had a long way to go.

I put together a few pictures from the weekend.  I posted a million more on Facebook, but my father-in-law doesn’t do Facebook….so these are for him!

 

 

Boone – 2011

Brad grew up having real Christmas trees.  
I grew up with a fake tree.  
When we got married I was super excited to start a tradition for us to get a real tree each year.  And that’s just what we’ve done.  And all but one year we’ve gone to a local Christmas tree farm to cut a tree down.  But last year was different – we started coming to Boone.  You can read about it here
Well, we did the exact same thing again this year.  Except we took 2 days off work and spent a long weekend in Boone this time.  It was wonderful.  
This year it didn’t snow…so that was a huge bummer (and it drizzled the day we cut down our tree)….but being that there wasn’t snow all over the ground we got to do some hiking.  We hiked to Linville Falls, 
went to Grandfather Mountain (and Brad even walked the bridge), 
bought David a sled so he could sled up near Beech Mountain, 
drove the Blue Ridge for a while, 

went shopping in downtown Boon, ate at several really great places, and finally cut down our tree.

We went back to Circle C Christmas tree farm.  It’s a lovely little farm and again we found the perfect tree.  Yes, I suppose, you can say I’m a tree snob.  Yes, you can buy these trees in Birmingham.  But….no, you can’t cut them down.  

After walking through what seemed like a thousand trees – we finally found the perfect one!  It’s almost 9 feet tall – and our ceilings are 9 feet tall.  Perfect, right?

We’ve decided to try and make this a yearly tradition if our vacation schedule and pocketbook will allow – as this is one of our favorite memories from this Christmas and last.  In fact, when talking about last Christmas the first thing David talked about was our Christmas tree trip (even before our trip to Disney). 

Making memories with my two favorite people is my favorite thing to do.   

Denver – The day I attempted to ski

Months ago when Angie and I planned my trip to Denver she had told me how she wanted to take me skiing. Then she separated her shoulder while snowboarding in late November and I was a teensy bit relieved that we most likely wouldn’t be going skiing while I was up there – due to her injury.

But then, the week before my trip Angie started telling me about all the warm clothes I needed to bring for skiing. WHAT?! I played along….still thinking it wouldn’t happen. Maybe I’d get altitude sickness and not be able to go.
When I arrived in Denver and the plan was most definitely to go skiing. Crap. I am not athletic and am in no shape to ski. I was terrified. I didn’t tell Angie or Donny, because this is their thing and they really wanted to take me.
And regarding that altitude sickness – apparently a way to avoid it was to keep hydrated. I carried a water bottle with me the whole weekend and every chance she got Angie would shove it in my face and say, “DRINK”.
We started out our day at 5:30 am to pick up a friend of theirs and drove to Keystone, which was about 90 minutes away. By this point I had psyched myself up and was very excited about going. Giddy in fact, like a kid.
I could handle this skiing thing, right? Sure. At one point right before we started skiing I sent Brad a text message to let him know we had arrived at Keystone. Here was his response:
“Don’t die”.
Seriously. Nice, huh?
We rode in the gondola up the massive mountain –

Photobucket
Trey and Donny (with their super cool Never Summer snowboards) –

Photobucket
So….I started down the bunny hill. It was pretty easy, in fact I didn’t fall even once. I did this twice and Donny told me I was ready for the training hill. It wasn’t too long and I made it down that without falling too. I guess seeing me do SO WELL as a beginner, Donny thought I could handle the hardest run in the Rockies: Schoolmarm.

Photobucket
Actually what you can’t see in that picture above is that the Schoolmarm run a GREEN run, which is for beginners (apparently). It’s the long training run that the instructors take new students down. Donny and Angie served as my instructors. Schoolmarm was 3.5 miles long. Geesh.

Photobucket

Most people can get down Schoolmarm in 10-15 minutes. It took me an hour and a half. For real. I fell a bunch. And rested even more.

Donny and Trey were being so sweet and sticking with me (and Angie) so make sure I was comfortable and ok. Angie promised she wouldn’t leave my side, but I felt so bad holding the boys back. So about 2/3 down the run they finally went on down the hill and snowboarded for a while. They actually circled back on us. EMBARRASSING!
Clearly, I was not ready for the 3.5 mile run – beginner or not. It was rough. My legs were screaming the whole time.
You know how when you are lifting weights and you get to the last few that are so hard you want to drop the weight? Then finally your muscles are so fatigued that you literally can’t lift it one more time. That’s how my legs felt the whole time going down that mountain. But in this case my life depended on it, so every few minutes I had to stop in the middle of the mountain run and take a break. But I really didn’t want to die (remember Brad’s text) so I really didn’t care.
And some of our best pictures from the day came from sitting down smack in the middle of the run (for one of my many breaks).
Props to Angie (and Donny and Trey) for being so supportive and not getting frustrated with me being so slow – even once.

Photobucket

Photobucket
Because I kept myself from going very fast, basically the entire 3.5 miles I was doing the pizza wedge or keeping my skis pointed together in front of me – to slow me down. I only got to the relaxing/stand up/skis pointed straight point ONCE.
My skis looking out over the Rockies –

Photobucket

At the very end of Schoolmarm some goober fell right in front of me and my options were to: a) hit him, b) hit a couple trees, c) fall. So I choose to fall and ended up sliding down the hill on my back – spinning like a turtle. Angie got the last half of my fall on video, but it’s from so far away you can’t really see what happened. So sad. I would have loved to have that to look back on…and post on facebook for everyone to laugh at.

After we left Schoolmarm we went back to the much shorter beginner runs. I got pretty comfortable on them and that’s where Angie and I stayed for the remainder of the day.
We spent a lot of the day here:

Photobucket
But that’s okay. I was really comfortable on these training runs and still had a TON of fun.
Angie went down Schoolmarm on her own while I rested at the lodge for a bit (my shins from the boots needed a rest) and she took a fall and her previously separated shoulder was hurting her a lot. Once she got back to the lodge we both decided we were done. The boys decided they were done too.
End of the day picture –

Photobucket
We grabbed some coffee here (which is where we spent a lot of time this weekend)…

Photobucket
and headed to Breckenridge….or as the locals calls it – Breck…..or as I call it – The Breck.
We ate dinner in Breck. Or is it at Breck?
Thanks, Donny and Angie, for treating me to such a fabulous day. Can’t wait to do it next time I visit you guys in Denver.

Denver – Girls Night Out

Angie and two of her girlfriends took me clubbing in downtown Denver while I was in town. We stayed in a fabulous place on the 29th floor and had the best views.


I am not a clubber. I do not go clubbing. And Lord knows I do NOT dance. Ever. I’m more of a people watcher. But Angie insisted and I’m glad she did – the evening turned out great.
Angie, Jennie and Linsday, before we left. They are sexy girls!

We went to Club Beta downtown. We got there at 9 pm. So, 9 pm is a little (okay, so WAY) to early to show up. We were literally the first four people there. Luckily, the cover charge was free for women on Friday nights. Woo-hoo.
We started out with a shot….
Then because we were all alone Angie started doing cartwheels:
Lindsay and Angie were doing the cat walk (please notice that we really are the only ones in the whole place):

Angie decided to be ‘one with the wall’:


Because it was a little boring on the dance floor we spent a bit of time in the bathroom (I KNOW, odd) with our new friend Evie. She works the bathroom. For real. She had gum, hair spray, tampons, perfume, washcloths and soap that she’d give you. Of course a tip is expected. She was actually kind of cool and we spent a while talking with her over the course of the night.
The only time I’ve been anywhere with a bathroom attendant was when we were in New York City. See….I told you I don’t get out much. Apparently this is common in the clubs. To keep things like this from happening:

Then we went to Jackson’s, where the cover charge was $5 for women and free beer until midnight. I do not drink beer. It tastes like pee (not like I’ve ever tasted pee…but if I had to imagine what pee tastes like – it would taste like beer). However, since I was already on the inebriated side – I decided free Blue Moon beer actually tastes okay. Who knew?
We left Jackson’s after a few beers and went back to Club Beta. By then there were more people there. We went upstairs and took some pictures in the photo booth. Why would we pay $5 per for 5 pictures on a little tiny sheet when I could take them for free with my camera?


This is proof of where all we went that night, we even got a VIP stamp:


After leaving Club Beta we walked to Illegal Petes which is a restaurant that stays open late serving awesome nachos and playing loud music.


At the end of the evening, we walked back to the free Mall Ride and hopped a ride to our place. Thankfully, none of us went overboard drinking so we all woke up feeling just fine. It was a really fun night and I’m glad we went out, you know, clubbing. I got to know some of Angie’s friends and see parts of downtown Denver I wouldn’t have had the chance to see otherwise.

Here’s the morning view – I could get use to this – see the peak in the center of the picture directly below? That’s Pikes Peak. Brad, David and I drove up it last May on our summer vacation out west.

Thanks, Angie, Lindsay & Jennie for such a fun night!

The year of the tree

My favorite Christmas Tree is the Fraser Fir. They are beautiful. They smell lovely. The needles don’t poke you as you decorate the tree. The limbs are strong enough to hold ornaments rather than collapsing and sending ornaments to the ground. They just are THE perfect Christmas tree.
They don’t grow in Alabama. {Sad face}.
Yes….you can just go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and buy one.
Well, not us Herrington people.
We have to pick our out tree from a farm and cut it down. It’s a tradition. We started this the year David was born and will continue it until…well, forever, hopefully.
Brad knows I’ve always wanted a Fraser Fir, but since they don’t grow in Alabama we’ve always gotten a lame Leland Cypress or the other Christmas tree type that grows in Alabama. Now, I love Leland Cypress’s….we even have one in our yard and it’s beautiful….but it’s NOT a Christmas tree. It’s a yard tree.
Unfortunately, to go to a choose and cut tree farm you have to go to an elevation of 3,000 feet. Hmmm. It turns out we had a free weekend in December and our favorite little North Carolina city is exactly an elevation of 3,000 feet.
We drove up there this past weekend. It was a quick trip – up on Friday night, back on Sunday. But it was probably one of my favorite trips ever.
We arrived in Boone, NC Saturday at lunch time and ate at our favorite little BBQ joint there. We had a small snowball fight in the parking lot.
Then we went to our favorite hotel and caught the SEC Championship game (while I took a little nap).
After the game we went to dinner at Chili’s and had a snowball fight in the parking lot there. This is where I pelted Brad in the neck and got the snow all down his shirt. This is also where David pelted me in the eye. This is where I body slammed David into the snow. Ok, just kidding about the body slam.
Clearly we are tourists…everyone that saw us throwing snowballs in the parking lots just laughed at us.
Sunday we woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel and left for the Christmas tree farm.
We headed towards the one that was recommended and realized we couldn’t make it up the mountain (there was a LOT of snow and ice everywhere). A 2-wheel drive, rear wheel drive truck doesn’t make it up curvy, hilly, icy mountain roads very well.
So, we sat in a parking lot for about 20 minutes. I called 7 different tree farms until we found one that said we could make it up to it in our truck. We still got stuck once we got to the farm, but they were able to help us get out.
This tree farm was perfect. From the little warmed barn with hot chocolate to the beautiful trees to the gorgeous wreaths to the snow drifts that David played in, the snow angels he made, hills that he rolled down and the snow that he ate. Many snowballs were thrown here too. It was perfect. Completely perfect. Oh, and cold. Really cold.
They gave us a PVC pole that was marked to tell us how tall the tree we were choosing was (see it in David’s hands below). When we had the perfect tree we waved the little PVC pole in the air and within about 1 minute one of the employees rode up on his 4-wheeler with a chain saw to cut it down for us.

If you look closely you can see the 4-wheeler in the picture carrying our tree down the hill to the barn….

This is definitely one of my favorite weekends with my two boys. Ever. It will be remembered.

Thanksgiving – Part II



We spent 6 days over Thanksgiving at a great RV park in Georgia, called Pine Mountain – An RVC Outdoor Destination.

This was our 2nd annual trip there. We went last year with Brad’s family and this year my mom and Clint also joined in on the fun. They just purchased a 5th wheel and this was their first trip in it.
We had a great time.
This is where we ate many of our meals…
The campground provides a Thanksgiving lunch for all of the campers – and everyone brings sides. It’s nice having lunch prepared for us – and all we had to bring was one side. We plan to making this a yearly thing.
This is Rich and Leslee….they are so hard to photograph….one or both of them normally acts like a goober in every picture. But this one is a good one!
We went to Wild Safari and saw lots of very cool animals and were able to feed them from the van we rented.

David was not brave at first, but when he realized the animals wouldn’t bite he began getting a little more willing to feed them the food – rather than chuck it at their faces or down their throats. 🙂

This is something we saw a LOT of…..ewww.

Herrington Family shot – we haven’t had one of these in 2 years –
Our little family –
We went to Callaway Gardens one afternoon to walk around. We arrived about an hour before they were closing so we only got to go to the Butterfly Exhibit and the gardens. The Butterfly Exhibit is a neat thing to see, but there must not be a ton of butterfly’s in November….we saw some, but not a lot.
David did get to hold one that my mom got to land on this orange.

We also made it to the vegetable garden, which is my favorite. We’ve seen it twice – around Thanksgiving…I’d love to go back during the summer to see what the summer crops look like. I heard that you can buy the surplus from the garden. That might be a good camping trip for us next summer.
And finally, we went to the Callaway Gardens Christmas light display. We went last year and decided to go again this year. It takes about 45 minutes to drive through and you see lots of lights. I mean LOTS. Our favorite was the 12 Day of Christmas….which I am currently teaching David the words to!
Olivia really loves getting her picture taken.
David? Not so much. I have very few pictures of him from the weekend. 😦

Durango to Aspen

On Tuesday, we left Durango and drove to Apsen. Our tour guide on the Jeep Tour told us about a forest road called Lime Creek that was between Durango and Silverton (which luckily was the direction we had to go). We found the route and took it.

A-MAZE-ING.
This is probably one of my favorite parts of our entire trip and it didn’t cost a penny.
We drove a while before we came to this lake in the middle of the mountains. There were hundreds of lily pads. Right as I was thinking this would be a great place to camp we noticed a camper on the side of the road. Way cool.
At times the road got steep and narrow. See? Oh, and that’s our fabulous rental truck. 4×4. Thankfully – since we needed it a time or two on this forest road.
Once we made it through the mountain pass we came to this awesome river. There were primitive camping spots literally 20 feet from the river. We walked out to it and threw a bunch of rocks. We always have a contest to see who can throw their rocks the farthest. I’m pretty sure I’ve never won that contest.
If we lived in this part of Colorado I’m pretty sure we’d spend every possible minute driving down roads like this and finding places to camp. This may be my favorite picture of the whole trip (of course except the ultra cute ones of David).
I wanna go back…..