14 December 2010

Where does the time go?

I can't believe it's the end of another year. 2011 is peeking around the corner and I'm so not ready for it. It's a shame isn't it? No matter where you are in the race, the stopwatch keeps going.
I don't have a mirror above my bed but I'm pretty sure this is how I look every morning before I get out of bed. Scared, confused, holding my breath, bracing myself for what the day has planned. It doesn't matter what I have planned, life always has something else in store for me. From time to time it let's me think I have control, but in truth, I know that no matter how organized and well laid out my plans are, life always does me one better.
I need to be more like a surfer. Just ride the waves instead of frantically paddling against them. Or in my case, just sink like a dead weight because I never learned to swim.
In my efforts to make next year just a wee bit better, I've decided to focus on what my circle of influence is. Let's face it, if I'm going to be truthful my circle involves just me really. I can't really control anything around me; not my husband, kids, schedules, friends... just me. I'm thinking if I can get that down then everything else will take care of itself. Sounds a little bumper stickerish but that's the best I can do for now.
I can't really have any regrets because my life is pretty good considering where I could be right now. Everything shapes and molds us and we can take the good and run with it or wallow in the messy bits and blame everyone for our misfortunes.
Well, 2011 is coming whether I'm ready or not. It will come in like a hard and fast wave and leave before I realize what hit me and I plan on having a life preserver and enjoy the ride...

23 November 2010

19 Years and still in love...

Today Bobby and I celebrate our 19th anniversary. Considering that some people thought we wouldn't make it past our first year, I think we're doing pretty good. I don't think they realized just how stubborn we really are :)
Knowing how much I love everything old, Bobby bought me this thoughtful card. It reads, "The moment I saw you I knew we'd fall desperately in love, get married, have kids, and drive each other crazy for the rest of our lives." He adds, ' and beyond.'

He went to a place called Chocolate Works and 'hand-picked' these chocolates for me. He knows how much personal gifts mean to me so needless to say I was very happy.
He also took me to this little place called Caughlins for breakfast. I love little out-of-the-way places so this was perfect.

I love you Bobby! I don't think that there is anyone better suited for me. You have blessed my life with laughter, patience and unconditional love and for that I will be forever grateful! Thank you

04 November 2010

Busy, busy, busy...

My daughter was commenting recently about how we never do anything anymore. I beg to differ. Here are some pics on the goings on in our lives...

In the month of October alone, we accomplished all you see here,(not necessarily in the order of the pictures. My computer is funny about how it chooses to load them.) Above, we are at my sister's for her 'non' Halloween party; below is my sis-in-law Joanne and I at a scrapbook retreat up in Vermont... so fun; I got Two albums done! yahoo!
A very colorful character who was gracious enough to pose with me in New York on my hope-to-be yearly excursion! ;); He commented that he wished he'd had time to get dressed up... hmmm,

Getting ready to trick-or-treat on Halloween night~ this spot is infamous. We always take a picture at our front door. It has evolved over the years.

Roci's room make-over; the 'after'. By the way, Mercedes primed the furniture and I painted it! It came out very nice! I'm not sure about the knobs though. They irk me a little. I think they need to be painted or replaced. Not sure yet...

This is the 'before' picture which should be before the top one, but it's not!...

Evening in Excellence at church... Princesses of God. Much time and thought went into this program. It was beautiful. And Janel's talk was inspiring!I cooked the food and was happy not to burn anything!

a picture of Aalyia on our walk and visit to the Farmer's Market at Forest Park;
She purchased, with her own money, a container of blueberry yogurt, kettle corn and two cookies, one for her and one for Roci. She promised Mercedes that she would buy her one next time but would be happy to share her kettle corn!
Kaleigh's open house/Book sale; of course Abuela had to spoil everyone buy buying them a book and junk, I mean cute pointers/nose pickers/eye pokers :)
A hike to Mt. Tom and a stop for dinosaur tracks; this is where I discovered that my camera does take black and white photos!

trip to NYC for Roci's friend Tatiana's birthday; Museum of Natural History, Central Park, FAO Schwartz and a stop by the temple. Doesn't get any better than that!

Friends and family over for dinner/Dave's 40th birthday party; full house, tons of food and dessert. It doesn't get any better than this! Good food by the way; didn't burn anything here either...

Carillon Field trip at Trinity Church; Mercedes will be taking lessons now, oh you'll enjoy it. and if not, at least you can play something you may not want to play. Is that so bad??
Roci and Mercedes' performance at Red Riding Hood's Basket... sold out of course ;) ha ha
So Mercedes, do you still think we don't do much? I'm exhausted just looking at the pictures and I lived them! Guess what? the holidays are just peeking around the corner! gulp
Oh I wanted to mention that Mercedes has officially passed the GED exam!!!! Yea for her! We are very proud of her. Two down, two to go! She is also recuperating from having her wisdom teeth removed this week. I didn't take pictures of her and I'm sure she'll thank me for that some day! She is a trooper.

25 October 2010

Living Proof

I was watching a medical program called, 'The Doctors', a few months back at my sister's house while babysitting. They featured this product called, 'Frizz', (with a line through it, hence No Frizz).
I have very curly, dry hair that frizzes so easily that it would make a hygrometer jealous. I was impressed with the product demonstration and went online to find out where I could get some of this 'miracle serum'. I ended up at the mall and asked about the return policy and purchased everything in the line. I was told I could try it and return the unused product for a full refund. I figured I had nothing to lose.
From the first time I used it I was hooked! I am so impressed everytime I use it that I have a guaranteed great hair day. I found that the styling treatment, conditioner and the shampoo (for the summer), were worth the money. I ended up using the conditioner as a leave in conditioner and feel it works better than the leave-in. Plus you get more at less of the price. Unfortunately, the products are expensive so I use it once a week or when I want my hair to look amazing! I have tried thousands of dollars worth of hair products over the years. I can honestly say that this product is the only thing that has consistantly worked on my hair. I love it and decided I would share it with you. It is worth it.
The website is
let me know what you think if you decide to try it!

10 October 2010

I miss you

Gil and Gail, father and daughter circa 1969

I know I've posted this photo before, but it was the only one I could find on my computer. It has been 4 years since my father passed away this week and I do miss him. It took me a while to realize that was why I was having a hard time this week. It is interesting how your spirit remembers things even though you are not aware of them.

I love you Papi...

27 September 2010

Heeeeeeeeeeeere's Roci!

How cute is this kid?? She is living every little girl's dream. To have an audience all to herself where she can perform her little heart out! I pray she has fun and that all goes the way she wants it!!! We love you Roci!

18 September 2010

An update

A few things I'm behind on:
Zachary's first birthday; a hike to falls somewhere in Westfield with the Baird fam; dog sitting for the Jensons, Mr. Darcy, or better known to Caleb as Mr. Farcy. We've been so busy this summer and I haven't done a great job keeping up, but I'm trying :)
Next post will hopefully be on the play the girls were in... I'll get there!

Time out for women

I heard that someone nicknamed Time out for Women, 'EFY for women". I think it's pretty close, without the dancing part.
What a wonderful opportunity for a group of women to get together and listen to beautiful musci performed by very talented artists, and amazing speakers with powerful gospel messages in a relaxed, enviroment! I am so happy that I've had more than one opportunity to attend this retreat of sorts.
Hilary Weeks is one of my favorite performers and she was hosting. She seems like she would be fun to hang out with. She sang beautiful songs written by her and shared some fun stories and common experiences we have as women. I am thankful to Deseret Books who put this production on and make it possible for us as women, members or non-members, to be able to enjoy such an edifying experience!!!
Thanks Zana for sharing your discount on the rooms, to Teresa for sitting with us and sharing the bed with me:), and to Noel for 'not' coordinating the trip. You're too funny :)

03 September 2010

Ahhhh.... Aalyia

This little girl here just gave me the biggest pick-me-up I've had in a long time. This is how it went:
We had just finished family prayer and we were giving out our customary hugs and kisses. Aalyia was sitting next to me but instead of hugging me she went over to her sister. I was taken back. Then she skipped over me again to hug her other sister.
I said, "Uh, what about me?!'
She said, "No mami, just wait a minute." Then she leaned over and whispers to me, "I didn't forget you, I'm saving you for last because'..., (this part she just barely whispers),... "because you're my favorite."
She left me speechless.
Roci caught what she said and said, "Huh, what?"
Aalyia put her hands up and said, "Just kidding, just kidding." But then she looks over her shoulder and whispers more carefully, "But not really Mami.", with her big toothless grin.
I can't tell you what that did for me.
We don't play favorites in our home. We love our children more than we ever could express to them or probably show them. We love them each for their uniqueness and individuality. We love them differently because they are so different. And now that I think of it, I guess they are each my favorite because they are so individually special. I have been known to say, "You're my favorite Gage, or Mercedes, or Roci, in the world. I guess I am Aalyia's favorite mom. Roci will role her eyes at me sometimes but I remind her that although she is loved, she doesn't HAVE to be a favorite anything. The 'favorite' just adds an exclamation point to the love.
Aalyia made me feel so special. To know that she knows me warts and all and can STILL express that was amazing.
I try so hard to be a good mom. I battle with the 'ugly me' alot. The Dr. Hyde, if you will. The one who loses her temper easily, who's too busy to play or too tired to read a story. Sometimes she comes around and I don't have the energy or desire to send her away.
And yet Aalyia reminded me of my Heavenly Father's love for me because at that moment she showed me that we are all His 'favorite' because of who we are. Thank you Lovie, I needed that more than you could know.

18 August 2010

How to behave and why

photos by mercy

...How old we are isn't what counts. The two biggest questions to ask ourselves in life, at any age, are:

Are most of the people I know glad that I am here? Am I glad that I am here, myself?

Anyone who can honestly answer "YES" to those two questions most of the time has learned to BEHAVE in this world and to live a happy life.

It doesn't matter whether you are a Chinese grandfather, an Eskimo mother or an American boy or girl going to school-

You still have to get along well with other people and have most of them like you, if you want to be happy.

from the book 'How to behave and why'

09 August 2010

God bless you!

We were having dinner at a friend's home last night and the subject of sneezing and blessing came up.
My friend said she does not bless those who sneeze and doesn't feel bad about it. She knows it stems from superstition and refuses to continue the tradition and feed into it.
I felt that it didn't matter how it started. It is polite and good manners and should be done because it shows you care, even to a stranger. Now, this was a game of devil's advocate but it got me thinking.
For me the world is such a hard place sometimes so to extend a blessing on someone, I think, helps to keep us caring and compassionate. In Puerto Rico there is a tradition that I enjoy and continue with my children. It is customary for children (young or adult) to ask their elders for their blessing. Every time you see, say your parents, you say 'Bendicion', which literally means 'Blessing', and they respond with, 'Dios te bendiga', or 'God bless you'. It is considered disrespectful not to do this. When I was young, this always made me feel very special because I was always reminded that God was with me.
Maybe that is why I like to bless those that sneeze... hmmm...
In true form, I set out to research this phenomenon and found some things about the Black Plague , (blessing people so they wouldn't lose their soul through the sneeze), and blessing to keep evil spirits from re-entering the body once they were expelled through the sneeze, or blessing because one belived that the person's heart stopped momentarily when they sneezed.
The earliest date I found was in a writing dated 150 AD where someone blessed someone sneezing several times. But I could not find any info on the exact start of this tradition.
I like being blessed when I sneeze. For me, it shows that people are being empathetic and considerate.
To bless or not to bless... what do you think?

04 August 2010

I was just thinking...

I was just thinking about how this past year has flown by for me. I can't believe it is August! I started to think about how excited I always get at the beginning of a new year. I always feel as if it gives me a 'do over'; a time to set new goals, (or, sometimes, in my case, re-setting goals :)). I get this ' this time I'll get it right' attitude:
-this year I'll manage our finances better
-this year I'll be more patient with my family
-this year I will exercise and eat better
-this year I'll catch up on my projects
-this year I will remember to send everyone birthday cards
-this year we will get out of debt
-this year I will clean and organize the basement
-this year I will only think nice things about people
-this year will be the best ever!!!

I have been doing this ritual since I was a kid. I would get so excited because I felt as if someone was waving a magic wand and at exactly midnight, at the final stroke of twelve, I was new AND I was going to be able to do what I had in mind no matter what.
Of course, at 12:05, I was already thinking about why did so-and-so wear that ugly dress and stuffing my face with a yummy piece of cake. Why do I do this? I set my expections so high and as soon as I mess up I think I'm done! Or better yet, why do I think that New Year's Eve is the only time to set goals??
As I mentioned earlier, I was thinking about how quickly this year has passed and I started to think about the goals I'd missed. How we are still in debt, and how I haven't been as patient as I could be and the thinking nice things about people ALL the time... well we won't touch that one.
Then I had a duh moment.
This whole setting resolutions things is similar to the Atonement. Whether or not people are religious, this is what we are doing. New Year's Eve is a time to put things behind us and start new. The beauty of the Atonement is that we get to do this whenever and as often as we want. God doesn't expect perfection. He doesn't even expect us to be 'like' Jesus. He wants us to do our best. That is why we are all so different. He expects us to be the best WE can be using the Savior as an example. He gives us a 'do over' every minute of the day.
So with that in mind I started going over what I HAVE done. Well:
- I lost 13 pounds this year
-I paid off one credit card
-to date I am a full tithe payer
-I don't skip meals
-I have faithfully exercised everyday
-I pray with my family daily
-For every mean thing I am aware of thinking I ask God to forgive me and I think of one nice thing. (I have been pretty good about this).
-I've been 80% on the remembering birthdays :)
So. Even though I know all this, I still find myself looking forward to the upcoming New Year's Eve. I still enjoy the tradition. But I am blessed with the knowledge that I can have "New Year's" everyday. I've already started my new list ;)...

24 July 2010


Every time I go back to New Jersey to visit my family I get into this funk when I come back. I always feel like I'm leaving such a huge part of myself behind.
I went this past weekend to visit my cousins and even though we weren't there for long, we had such a great time. My family has a way of welcoming you and spoiling you like crazy. They exude love. It's such a powerful force. I imagine that is what Heaven must be like. That 'coming home' feeling. Being surrounded by people who love you, warts and all.

I just want to thank them for always being such amazing examples to me and for their unconditional love!! And Mary, I will be there again alot sooner than you think. Hopefully you'll have time to get 'sick of me'. :) I love you all!!!!!!!!!

15 July 2010

Drum roll...

I had my appointment with the specialist today and he agreed that the cysts I have are textbook and that I am okay! He said I do have many, but that unless they are causing me great pain or they change in texture I am fine. I can finally breathe.
That is a wonderful birthday gift!
The positive side is that I learned a lot about breast cancer and fibroid cysts, so I am thankful that I had some good doctors that were concerned and decided to err on the side of caution. I am thankful for family and friends who were so supportive and kept me in their prayers. I am thankful for the phone calls and the emails. I am thankful!

10 July 2010

When can I breathe?

A couple of months ago I discovered a lump in my breast. You could see it plainly. I didn't think much about at first because I figured it would go away; it was just related to my crazy cycle which is always off. Well, it started to get bigger so I shared the news with Bobby and he immediately told me to make an appointment for a check up. I hate to go to the doctors and I didn't want to look dumb if it turned out to be nothing and besides, Bobby found another lump on the other breast so we figured it was probably a lymph node or a milk duct that we never noticed before.

I went for my check up and the doctor looked concerned. She said I had several lumps and a few of them were 'impressive' in size. She left the room and came back and told me I needed to be seen right away. She was very concerned and didn't want to alarm me, but she said it was something she wanted done as soon as possible. It doesn't take much to get my mind racing. I am a nervous person by nature so it was difficult to keep calm. The doctor had the secretary making calls to get me in right away, but no luck. The doctor herself got on the phone as well. About 40 minutes later, they told me that because of the holiday weekend it was to difficult to get me in and that they were sorry but I was going to have to wait until Tuesday (it was Thursday July 1st), and if anything opened up before then they would call me.

It was an incredibly LONG weekend. I don't do well with not knowing and having to wait. There was no sense in alarming anyone else, so I waited.

Tuesday finally came and I went to Mercy to have my mammogram and ultrasound. They found about 50 cysts. Some were very large. The technician and doctor there were great. They told me they looked like cysts and unless they were bothering me they didn't have to do anything else. They would keep an eye on them for any changes and I was good to go. When my doctor received the news she was not happy. She wanted me to keep my appointment with a surgeon (the one I cancelled because all looked well),because a cyst could be cancerous. The only way to know for sure is to have them aspirated and then have the fluid checked. She said her concern was that there were a few that were so large and firm ( I guess most cysts have a grape-like texture.) So I had to call and reschedule. The first opening is on my birthday, Thursday.

She told me it was better to be safe and be checked than to wait on something that could be worse in the long run because nothing was done.

So now I am left to wait again. The odds are for me that there isn't anything wrong. I am thankful that my doctor is playing it safe, but that still leaves my mind to wander and wonder,

" What if?"

What if I'm the one who ends up being in that 5% bracket? It is funny to me that doctors tell their patients, "Oh, that is rare." or "The odds of that happening are small." Obviously it happens to someone. Someone out there is in that 5% bracket. What do they do when their patient is that one?

Again, I'm sure I'm fine. But I am praying for that 5% group that have to deal with the bad news... like my cousin Irma who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and has endured 9 months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She is an amazing person and I am thankful that the odds for her are looking positive. She is home now recovering and waiting...

Me? I'll be holding my breathe until Thursday...

05 July 2010

The 4th

We have a tradition on the 4th to watch the fireworks in Springfield (weather permitting), from a median at the parking garage on Columbus Ave. We have alot of good memories from this spot.

The Yeagers, Metzgers and two of the Baird girls were able to join us this year...

The happy gang...

What a ham...

My friend Jenn took us stawberry picking at a place in Agawam and for the life of me I can't remember the name of it! I went home with some monster berries that Mercedes enjoyed... ;]

10 June 2010

Graduates ,birthdays and ATExpress!

Roci is in a girl group called ATExpress. Four girls from ages 9-11 with pretty impressive voices. Their first public appearence was on Tuesday at the Suffield Country Club. They got a standing ovation and the crowd was very encouraging. Needles to say, my Rocola loves, loves to perfrom. LOVES IT!! The blonde girl in the back is their director and she is pretty amazing with these girls. Very encouraging, and patient. I'm happy that Rocola has found her 'thing' that she enjoys doing!

As Sister Palmer would say, 'Life is so grand, isn't it?' My baby turned 7 on Tuesday. She was so excited that she woke up early Monday and said, all day, 'Tomorrow is my birthday, I'm so excited!' All day. This birthday is a very big deal to her because it will mean she only has 1 year to go before she's baptized. She's been talking about that alot, too.

She is such a sweet and sensitive girl. I learn so much from her. She's quick to apologize. She's always ready to give and receive a hug. She loves to share and make people laugh. She loves the color blue. She also thinks narwhals are weird but cool. I love you!

My brother Adrean graduated on Friday from Wastefield High School. Yes, he graduated with honors. As you can see from the picture he was so excited to be there. I felt bad for him, because I know how much he wanted to graduate with his friends from Puerto Rico. At least he got a trip to PR out of it. I hope he enjoys reconnecting with his friends... and takes time to work on his tan. He looks so pale!

Here is a pic from Seminary graduation. Gage graduated this year with perfect attendance for four years and earned his passport for three. We are so proud of all his efforts. He was one of the speakers for the graduation and I thought he was very open about what he learned. I am thankful for this program. It gives them an opportunity to learn about deep scriptural doctrine, and start off the day (5:40 am to be exact!) on a spritual note. Mercedes is going into her last year of seminary and I expect her to do great as well!

Gage is an official high school graduate. He received his diploma in the mail yesterday. Gage, we love you and expect that you will be blessed with amazing opportunites throughout your life. You are such a blessing in my life!

24 May 2010

Happy Birthday, Gill!

This picture was taken on the boardwalk in Long Branch, New Jersey back in 1986. It is a picture of my younger brother Gill, and my favorite sister, Melisa.
Gilly, as he is affectionately known to his family, was goofing around with the stroller. He was racing Melisa up and down the boardwalk and jumping in the air. I was afraid he was going to tip her over, but she was laughing up a storm. Believe it or not, this photo was taken with a 110 camera. Do you remeber those?:) I happened to turn around to check on them and saw my brother leap in the air. I asked him to do it again and snapped hoping to have caught the moment. I still look at this and get just as excited now as I was when I had the photo developed.
My little bro' just celebrated his 38th birthday. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing that bit of personal info! I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday! Thanks for this special memory...

18 May 2010

Papers, papers everywhere!!!

Recently, I had fallen behind in my recordkeeping. I finally decided to go through my stack of papers that have been collecting over the last few months and started to wonder why do I keep it and how important are they. I am good about getting rid of junk mail right away. If I don't look at it within the week, it's gone.
I have a basket in my kitchen that catches all the mail that comes in. It then makes its way up to our office at some point during the week to a small table I keep next to the computer. The day before payday, I start to look through it and see what needs to be paid that month and I use a clothes pin that is labeled, 'to be paid'. After they have been paid, I have another clothes pin labled, 'to be filed' and they sit there until I can file them. I also have a binder with 6 folders that have a pocket for each month where the paper work goes into when I get the chance to put it in which is about once a month. At the end of the year I would transfer all this paper into a box labeled with the year and stick it in my basement and be happy that all was accounted for.
I have been married for nineteen years, and can I just tell you how much paper we have in these boxes?? I went through a few boxes last year because I figured it'd be safe by now to throw away bank statements from banks that have been long taken over by other banks and receipts from highchairs sold long ago at yard sales. But then there were things I wasn't sure about. Credit card statements to accounts we still have, receipts to our refrigerator and dishwasher, car maintenence receipts and medical receipts and EOB's (Explanation of Benefits). Wow, do we have alot of those with 6 people in the fam.
I decided to share what I found because I figured I can't be the only person out there who appreciates this info, or maybe I fell asleep during Personal Finance class and missed it. Either way...
I thought this was the most important. I read conflicting advice and decided that forever sounded about right. So, tax returns and tax related items such as W-2's, donation receipts, property taxes, pretty much anything you need to file, you should keep all together in an 8x12 folder and keep them all in a box or file cabinet. Did you know that in the United States, the IRS has 3 years from the date you file to examine your returns for errors, and 6 years to audit for underreporting your income by 25%. There is no statute of limitations on suspected fraud.
Medical policies and receipts:
These should be kept for the life of the policy. EOB's fall under this category. One site even suggested keeping these for three years after the policy expires just in case.
Life insurance and Investment related things:
These should be kept for the life of the policy as well.
Bank statements and receipts for bills:
Advice is one year. Be sure to shred, shred, shred them. This includes credit reports, utilites, and any minor purchases without a warranty. Some advice was one month, but I know that if I throw it out, I will need it the very next day.
Any large purchases that come with warranties should be kept for the life of the product. I know this sounds obvious, but I still had paperwork to a microwave that was stolen when Bobby and I were first married. Go figure.
Remember to burn or shred anything personal with account numbers, addresses, social security numbers. We have been victims of credit card fraud and have had our personal bank account accessed. I am very good about going through my statements now and keeping my eyes open for questionable purchases. Always call if you're not sure.
And now that I have done my good deed for the day, I'm off to do some more purging! Feels good!

13 May 2010

Mercy's 16th

Mercedes' birthday fell during Stake Youth Conference this year and she was not happy about it. She did not want to attend, but being the all knowing mom I am I made her go because I knew that once she was there with her friends she would enjoy herself. Some of the kids that were attending were from out of town so they stayed at different member's homes. In order for the kids here in the area to have the same experience, they were able to stay at other people's homes as well. That way they would be able to feel like they went away and meet other kids not from around here.

Mercedes was so excited to find out she was staying at the Flower's home. She loves Laura Flowers and her sister Megan, so this made spending her birthday away a little more bearable.

Laura called me and thought that Mercedes would get a kick out of a surprise birthday party... at midnight. That way she wouldn't spend the day feeling forgotten.

I woke the girls up at around 11:30 pm and got them ready to meet Bobby in front of the Flower's house. Bobby's sister Joanne met me at home and Gage decided to skip the sleepover part of conference so he could be there for his sister. We showed up a little after midnight and surprised her. I think we pulled it off... here she is with her Aunt Joanne and cousin Jillian

Here is the ever-amazing Flower's family...

Laura told Mercedes she had to wear the hat. Only she could get her to do this... By the way, the cake was yummy!

Our kids get to pick a party or a present for the gift and she opted for a trip to New York City. I know, lucky. We stayed at Club Quarters in Rockerfeller Center in a very cute room on the 3rd floor.

We went to the Tribeca Festival and enjoyed the street festival they had. So much fun! We didn't get to see a movie there because I didn't know you had to purchase tix in advance, so maybe next year!

Ahhhh... only in New York, this is at Canal Street

We ate at the restaurant next door to the hotel called Johnny Utah's. There was a sign on the door that said they were going to be filming an episode of the 'Cake Boss' that evening and if you went in you'd be giving consent to be filmed. I thought Melisa was going to die. Apparently, 'Cake Boss' is one of her favorite shows and she loves Buddy's cakes (he designs and makes them). The restaurant has a cowboy theme and is equipped with a mechanical bull right in the middle of a ring in the middle of the dining area and we were seated with a perfect view of the bull and all the crazy patrons who were under the impression they could stay on for the minute you needed to be considered a winner. If we did nothing else during this trip, it still would have been worth it all to see some very colorful characters on that thing!
This, however, is not the bull but the cake that Buddy created for Johnny Utah's. It was put on a spring that allowed you to move the bull back and forth like the mechanical one!
Melisa was very thankful that we humored her. Watch out for this episode because we may be on it!

this is melisa with Buddy... she looks so dreamy there doesn't she? I think she died and went to heaven;)

Time Square... 45 minutes before the car bomb was found. We had just walked away from the very spot the truck was... creepy huh?

This is Phantom. The officer made him pose with me. You see how he looks all annoyed?

Enjoying our room

and the bed