Birthday Weekend in New York City (…and the SWEETEST present I have EVER received!)

Matthew had told me several months back that he had planned an over-night trip for my birthday.  Getting super excited, I imagined him making plans for our kids to stay with his parents one night while we drove to a quaint little town an hour away.  Although that sounded like a perfect idea at the time, little did I know, he had something VERY different in mind!

For weeks and weeks, he kept his secret.  But a week before my birthday, ‘wanting to give me something to look forward to,’ he sat me down and told me his plans…

(And I cried.)

(And cried some more.)

And just a few days after I found out where he was taking me, we were being dropped off at a modern and sleek hotel right in the middle of Times Square!  Although it was past midnight, we quickly got our luggage to the top floor and headed back down on the streets for late-night PIZZA!

The next morning was spent walking all around Central Park.
The weather was brisk.
The leaves were beautiful.
And, although there was plenty of people-watching, surprisingly, at times it felt like we were the only ones inside the entire park.

Perfect morning. 

Central Park has GOT to be the ONLY place in the WORLD where you look over a little bridge and happen to see Bird Bird quietly sitting on a park bench…central park




We could have walked Central Park ALL day, but, Matthew had BIG plans for lunch!
If you’re planning a trip to New York City, ‘Urban Space’ at Greeley Square Park is a MUST!  There were so many AMAZING food choices… all different, all unique and all reasonably priced!

I could have sat at our little bench for hours, smelling the flavors and sampling more of the delicious food, but, Matthew had made the sweetest plans for our afternoon…



P H A N T O M   o f   t h e   O P E R A !
(I would say this was “the SWEETEST gift EVER,” but, little did I know, just a few hours later I’d be given the most AMAZING, THOUGHTFUL and ROMANTIC gift that I’d EVER received.  But, before I jump ahead of myself…)

I have loved Phantom of the Opera for a long, long, long time.  (Like, I have every word from every song memorized!)  And although I had the privilege of seeing several times before, going with MATTHEW on Broadway, front row seats made it PERFECTION!




After 10 hours of sleep, I woke-up on my birthday morning excited and ready to enjoy our last day in New York City.  But, as I begin to get dressed, Matthew told me he had ‘a gift’ for me.  He sat down beside me and asked if I remembered when he committed to read through the Bible in a year?  He told me that, along with that commitment, he ALSO choose to write me a LETTER EVERY DAY for the next YEAR.

As I looked through the pages and pages of his letters from the past 365 days, I was overcome with emotion.

There were letters that he’d written during his mission trip in India– exposing his heart and desire to serve.
There were letters written on our kid’s birthdays– lovingly giving me the credit for all the goodness in each one of them.
There were letters he’d silently written on our vacation with my family telling me all his favorite moments with me throughout the day.

Of ALL the gifts I’ve ever received, NONE will EVER mean as much to me as the words, thoughts and feelings inside these two journals…





The rest of our day was filled with MORE food (yes, BACK to Greeley Square Park once more!).  I mean, why NOT eat a crispy (yet, chewy) waffle with bananas and Nutella on the top for breakfast?!?!

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Ground Zero… very sobering thinking about all the children who lost their parents that day.  911new


The Statue of Liberty.  Even when shooting a monument, my perception is most ALWAYS centered around a child…DSC_1007soft

No filters.  The lighting was GORGEOUS that night…DSC_0990nDSC_1023n

Tiramisu (my FAVORITE) in Little Italy!  Perfect birthday treat!photo 5favesselfies

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