Monday, August 31, 2009

Great Concert X 2

A couple friends of mine talked me into going to the David Cook concert last night. Now, I really like his music, but I didn't know if I wanted to pay to go see him, let alone do it on a school night. He was going to be performing at a smaller Venue in Fargo, the tickets were cheaper, and I just couldn't pass on the opportunity to hear him live. Plus, I LURVE going to concerts!

And the concert was AWESOME. Call me a geek, but I really thought it was great and we had a fun time. David Cook is really down to Earth and has a great sense of humor. He really connected with the audience. Here's some pics from DC's performance....

Backtrack a bit to before DC's performance.....

The opening act was a group called Crash Kings and I LOVED their music. Their more rock, but I love their sound and they have some real talent! After the concert I just had to pick up their CD, got their autographs, and took a picture with them. Super nice guys, and pretty attractive! Here's a pic from last night....From left to right.... Tony ... lead vocals with some mean piano/clavinet skills in there. Jason is the drummer.... and Mike, Tony's brother is the bass player. Here's a clip of one of my NEW favorite songs...

If you like rock, and get the chance to see them in concert, I HIGHLY recommend! I also recommend seeing David Cook, but that's just a given!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back at it

Today marked the first day back at school. I am not going to lie, I was super pumped getting ready for work this morning and have been looking forward to this day for the past few weeks. However, I am sure going to miss my easier days, but I am ready for the structure! And with the start of school in ND, the summer is coming to an end and the cool fall temps are just around the corner.

I took on a new position this year as the building level representative for our special ed team. I will still be working with students, but have been given some extra duties (mostly meetings, paperwork, and support to team) along with another block of time to complete these duties. I spent a lot of today working on the usual beginning of school year paperwork. I was looking over my caseload and noticed that I have a lot of 3-year re-evaluations due (some due in early November) on top of the regular IEP meetings. For those of you who are not special ed teachers - I am sorry for the shop talk; for those of you who are - you know what I am talkin' about. Nuff said.

All in all it was a good first day back! I will leave you with a few quotes I love:

  • "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . . . . but the world maybe different because I was important in the life of a child." - Kathy Davis
  • "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
  • "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it but that it is too low and we make it." - Michelangelo
  • "He who dares to teach must never cease to learn." - Anonymous
  • "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." ~John Dewey
  • "We must view young people not as empty bottles to be filled, but as candles to be lit." - Robert H. Shaffer
  • "When you cease to make a contribution you begin to die." Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Healthy Habits

Remember back in July, when I experienced all of that fatigue and exhaustion after my triathlon? I started to keep track of what I was eating, how much sleep I was getting, my workouts, what kind of vitamins and supplements I was taking, and how I felt throughout the day. Well, I took a mild haitus from that when I was in NYC and got right back on the wagon when I returned.

I thought I would do a little update and let you know what has worked for me as well as what doesn't work:
  • It can be rather simple. That is keeping track of all of this stuff on a daily basis. It's not as hard or time consuming as one might think when they first start. In fact, I am using another blog to keep track and it's working out perfect for me.
  • Watch the BLT's. I am not talking about the sandwiches, but the Bites, Licks, and Tastes. Every one of them counts and should be accounted for in the journal. One would be surprised at how many times you may do this. For example, when you are preparing lunch or snacks for the next day, or even when baking!? When I pay attention to these, I am more likely to not do it, since I don't want to write down that I licked the spoon after dishing my yogurt into a container for lunch tomorrow.
  • Don't give up every sweet and salty treat. I have found this to be unreasonable for me. As I have cut back significantly on these, I have also noticed that I don't crave them as often. I am also starting to crave good things, like fruit and crunchy vegetables! During our 4 days of meetings/inservice this week, we were treated to 3 donuts, 2 huge chocolate chip chocolate muffins, and 2 cookies. I was able to turn ALL but 1/2 a muffin down. I shared it with another co-worker!
  • Water, water, water. I am drinking more water - less pop and coffee. You should be drinking half your weight in ounces each day (more if you are working out).
  • Caffeine. I used to be one that thought grabbing a coffee from Caribou or Starbucks in the morning before work when I was really tired would be beneficial. Now I am learning to cut back and have these just as a treat. I am starting to make coffee at home and ending up drinking less (and saving money!). Lately, I have also noticed that when I do drink coffee (espresso) from Caribou, I feel all jittery most of the day and don't like that feeling.
  • 6 meals a day. I am a pro at eating smaller meals, but still working on eating more often throughout the day. I need to get better about planning my meals in conjunction with my day's schedule and when I am working out. A couple days this week I struggled with this and actually went 6 hours between lunch and dinner.
  • Plan more meals. We have had long lunches this week, so many of us teachers have taken advantage of this and enjoyed the company while eating out for lunch every day. Yuck. I am very sick of it and look forward to packing my lunches next week. This, too, helps save money!
  • Eat more raw food, fruits and veggies. Still working on this.
  • Sleep is key. I love my sleep and have been pretty consistent with this now that I am back at work. For me, it helps to go to bed around the same time every night and wake up at the same time every day. This week I have been ranging from 8-9 hours each night - the transition back to work has been draining!
  • Vitamins and Supplements. I am still taking my daily women's vitamin and fish oil, and just picked up some glucosamine which I think will help with cartilage and my joints.

  • I am down 3.6 pounds, and know that this came off fast with the transition from a just a few adjustments. As much as I would like to lose 20 pounds, I am continuing to look at this as a lifestyle change and hope that with some of these changes, it will continue to fall off, slowly and in a healthy way.
  • It's all about baby steps. In the past I have tried to change too many things at one time. I would cut out soda, not eat out, no consumption of alcohol, all at one time. This time, I have a plan to add a challenge a week. Some things I will continue doing after the week is over, and some things might just be a weekly challenge. For example, I have refrained from eating after 7pm, which is usually 2 - 2.5 hours before hitting the pillows. I will continue with this challenge, but look forward to completely dumping soda and coffee next week.

Mary, over at FIT THIS, Girl wrote up a great post about Diet vs. Lifestyle Change. You should check it out here!

Alright peeps. I am out of here. Heading to the cities with the family for another long weekend. We hope to hit up the horse races at Canterbury, take in a Twins game Monday, and do a little shopping in between!

Have a great weekend, y'all! See you on the flip side!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Getting Things Together

First and foremost, I must say thanks again to all your support and wonderful words in regards to my triathlon this week! You guys all rock! I am am enjoying my down time, away from training mode, and thinking hard and deep about what I want to do next. But, I will save all that for another post.

As far as work goes, I am back at it for four days this week with workshops and staff development. It's nice to get back and see everyone, but very little time is available to get caught up. My room is still not ready for when the kids start, but I am sure I will be ready come next Wednesday.

In hopes to becoming a bit more organized, I was on a quest to find a good planner. I am sure it's not shock to many of you, that I like to keep track of everything (every meeting, every phone call, everything), and I knew what I wanted in a planner. We usually get these free one's from the insurance company, but they are just monthly calendars. I wanted something with both weekly and monthly calendars in it and plenty of space for all my notes and reminders. On my third stop, I found extactly what I was looking for!
Now I didn't want to spend as much on it as I did, but once I saw that each day had a quote, I was excited!

Today's Quote says: "Experts estimate that by not eating a pound of beef, we save more water than by not showering for one year."
The store was full of parents and kids shopping for school. While I was standing in line, I over-heard (some may call this eavesdropping) a mom talking to her daughter. The mom was trying to convince her daughter that when you multiply you have to put the bigger number on top, like 5x4 or 9x6. For reals? Please tell me that you all know about fact families and the Commutative Property? You don't have to put the big number first! (If not, I guess I learned you something, lol).
And then, she proceeded to ask her daughter if she has done any reading this summer. Really? A week before school starts? I swear this mother knew I was a teacher! A week before school starts is NO time to worry about whether or not your child has done any reading over the summer. Cringe.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Time to Reflect - A Triathlon Race Report

WARNING: Long post ahead.

Detroit Lakes - YoungLife Sprint Triathlon
Finish Time - 1:39:32

Jill and I before the race.
(It was windy)

The last couple of weeks leading up to the YoungLife Triathlon were filled with mixed thoughts and feelings. I had just spent almost a week in NYC and came back with no real desire to train for this event. I kept up with my workouts, few and far between, but I just wasn't feeling it.

This was going to be my 2nd triathlon of 2009 and last one of the season. I knew I had to change my attitude and have fun. By the time this weekend hit, and with some positive comments and encouragement from friend and fellow bloggers, I was really starting to look forward to the trip to Detroit Lakes.

The Day Before:
It was decided that we would drive to DL the morning of, rather than spending $100+ on a hotel room Friday night. Everything was packed up Friday afternoon and we packed our friend's van that evening. We were ready to roll and all I needed was a good night's rest. However, I was worried that the thunderstorms rolling in around at 9pm, mixed with the usual pre-race nerves, were going to keep me awake. That was not the case. There were no nervous feelings when the head hit the pillow that night. I slept like a rock.

What did Wes say? "What you are is a veteran now... save the excitement for the morning the race."

And that is just what I did.

After a 430am wake-up, we were on the road at about 515am and to DL by 615. Was I nervous on the drive down? No. But, as soon as we pulled into the City Park area, and I saw the size of the transition area and a half a dozen hard core triathletes, I was starting to get the nervous bug. I even made the comment, "If I don't enjoy this race, I will seriously question if I ever do one of these again." Probably a little extreme and not the best attitude going into a race, but that's how I felt. However, not for long.

We took our time setting up our transition area. There were things I remembered to do from the last triathlon, as well as things I wanted to do differently. You know, it's a learning experience, and if I was happy about anything I was glad to be doing another triathlon this summer for that reason.

630am they started doing body marking. I was not impressed with my body marking, and when I asked for the smiley face on the back of my calf, the girl did a horrible job. Not a big deal, however, it was now that I was getting really excited.

By this point I had eaten half a banana and part of a peanut butter sandwhich. At 730 I took my Chocolate Outrage Gu (yum yum), and drank a lot of water. A bathroom break before the race was taken at this point, but looking back now, I think I drank way to much water this morning!

This event was broken into heats, depending on male female, two age groups (29 and under, 30 and older) and whether or not you were doing the Sprint or the Olympic.

The Race:

The Swim:
500M - out and back
The water was very shallow and at almost any point in the swim you could touch the bottom. The sun was starting to peak from behind the clouds, but it didn't last for too long. There were a few waves on the lake, but nothing horrible. To be honest, I was expecting worse, considering there were white caps last year. As I turned around the bouy I got splashed by a wave and it caught me off guard, but didn't slow me down.

In comparison to July's Prairie Rose Triathlon - 1000M - 31:00 - 3:06/100M - definitely an improvement!

Looking back at my tri in July and comparing the swim to this one, I was very impressed. Yes, it was half the distance, but I felt so much stronger on the swim this time around. Maybe it was because I kind of knew what to expect this time around. Maybe it was due to all the swim team practices I participated in.

T1: 3:52
I felt super pokey during this transition and kept telling myself to hurry up. I don't know what took me so long. I had my tri suit on. All I had to do was throw on my socks, shoes, helmet, gloves, and grab my gu. I struggled with my socks as water kept running down my legs and kept my feet wet. Does anyone have any solutions to this? I think this is what slowed me down the most!

The Bike:
11.7 miles

The brochure said it was going to be a 10 mile loop around the lake, but they had to add a little bit on for some reason or another. I was okay with that.

I hopped on my bike as I crossed the mat and felt strong. I held back on the bike a bit last time and wanted to put more into it this time around. The course was pretty flat, with an occasional rolling hill here and there. During the first 2-6 miles, my bike kept making a sound like it was shifting gears and every time I looked down, it was still on the middle spoke in the back. I was afraid to shift gears after that, but then it was fine for the 2nd half of the ride.

The temperature was in the low 70's but I could tell the humidity was pretty high. The sun was no longer present and the wind was starting to pick up. By the time I finished the bike, the wind was getting pretty bad and it was starting to sprinkle.

However, I just could not get my heart rate down. I didn't wear my heart rate monitor, but I knew it was high. I felt like I was breathing so heavy and at times I wasn't even going very fast. Any ideas on what would I would have needed to do to help bring my heart rate down?

At about the 8.5 mile marker, I took in another gu, TriBerry. This was before I remembered that the race course was going to be longer than 10 miles. I had also finished 1 of my 20oz bottles of water.

In comparison to July's Prairie Rose Triathlon - 12.4M - 52:40 - 14.13mph- definitely an improvement! I wanted to break the 15mph average and that is just what I did!


I had to walk/run my bike quite a long ways to get through transition, and that is pretty hard uncomfortable given I was wearing my clipless shoes. This transition did go a bit smoother. I kicked off my cycling shoes, grabbed my running shoes, lost the helmet and glove, and threw on my visor while running out of transition. It still could have been faster, but I'll take it.

The Run:
3.1 miles

Oh boy, where do I start? I didn't realize this until after the race, but a good portion of the run included the grassy area I spent a lot of time walking though. Looking back now, I remember that the timing mat was before that, not after. Oops.

At this point the wind had really picked up and it was starting to sprinkle. I am sure the temperature had dropped a few degrees but it felt good to me. My face was overheating and I knew I needed to cool off a bit. The route was a flat out and back.

Run, walk, run, walk, run, walk. This seemed to be the pattern here. The transition from the bike wasn't horrible, but my right knee wasn't great either. It wasn't bad, but it felt uncomfortable. Add on the fact that I was having this side stitch feeling in the middle of my back every time I took deep breathes, and the fact that I had to go potty really bad and I struggled imensely through this run.

It was starting to rain about 1/4 of a mile in and by the time I reached the turn-around point, it was pouring. I have never run in rain, let alone rain like that, and I must admit I kind of liked it! However, it didn't help the fact that I still had to use the bathroom, but I refused to use the port-a-potty. I didn't want to mess with my drenched wet suit in a dark port-a-potty. I couldn't afford to lose anymore time on my run. Looking back now, choosing to not take a bathroom break was probably my worst decision.

I still grumble when I think of this run. It just irritates me to no end.

In comparison to July's Prairie Rose Triathlon - 3.1 miles - 34:00 (approximately) - 10:58/mi- not as good! GRR. However, I believe that the last tri 5K was shorter than they said it was, but there's nothing I can do about that.

After thoughts:
Given all the ups and downs before and during the race, I look back and can still say that I was very happy I did this race and look forward to doing it again next year. It was organized really well.

We had our wonderful Sherpa in tow, wearing his Sherpa shirt that we made for him personally. Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions, we didn't get as many pictures as last time. But, he was still a great sport and supporter. Plus, I think he secretly really enjoys his roll as Sherpa!

We didn't stick around for awards afterwards. It was going to be a while to wait for them, and I am pretty sure I didn't win anything. It started to down pour again and we wanted to get out of our wet clothes. Plus, we were excited to do grab beer and pizza at one of the best pizza places in the lakes area.... Zorbaz!

One of the things that I really want to remember for next time is where to set up transition. When I went in before the race I was overwhelmed with all the racks and couldn't remember what I needed to remember when it comes to transition areas. But, looking back, I would like to think it would be smarter to set up transition closer to the bike entrance. This way, I wouldn't have to run/walk as far with my clipless shoes on. That is not very fun or comfortable.

I would also like take better note of where I am coming in and going out for each transition, as well as where the timing mats are placed. We walked through prior to race, but it was so overwhelming and I guess I didn't take it all in!

Overall, I am not very sore today. Good thing. My neck and shoulders are a bit tight, as well as my right calf but for all given reasons. I was riding with my shoulders pretty high during the bike, and I am sure my calf was overcompensating for my knee on the run. I did do a lot of stretching, yoga moves, and foam rolling yesterday afternoon. I should have iced my knee but I just wasn't thinking clearly. I need to get a massage in this week. I meant to call and schedule one last week for tomorrow, but kept putting it off and forgetting. Now I am kicking myself in the butt for that!

Here's the official resuts from the race website:
bib number:
age: 28
gender: F
location: Fargo, ND
overall place: 189 out of 215
division place: 34 out of 41
gender place: 89 out of 111
time: 1:39:32
swim: 9:09
trn1: 3:52
bike: 46:07
trn2: 2:33
run: 37:52

The next post will consist of some revisions and more thoughts I have on training and what-not. I was going to post that in this post, but I am afraid I have gotten rather lengthly on this race post as it is. Thanks again for all of your support, encouragement and well wishes! I couldn't have done this without all of you out there!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What's with the BA?

I think I have a bad additude about this upcoming triathlon. It will be the last one of the season; shouldn't I be super excited? I am not. I am sure things will be different once I wake up at the butt crack of dawn Saturday morning and drive the 45 minutes to Detroit Lakes for the event. But right now, I kind of just have that "meh" feeling.


School hasn't started back up yet, but I have been in and out of work a lot this week, working on organizing my room and then some paperwork. Next week I am back for 4 days of staff developement and workshops, have 3 days off, and then we start school on the 26th with the kiddos. I am super excited to get back with my kids. Oh how I miss them! (Remember this in a few weeks when I am pulling my hair out. LOL)

After the tri, I am sure I will be consumed with the whirlwind events of transitioning back to school, so I plan to take it pretty easy over the next 2-3 weeks. Workouts will still be there, but no tight schedule or long training sessions.

I have some ideas of what I want to do during the fall to preprare myself for half marathon training after the new year. Yes, I said half marathon training. I think I am going to give the Fargo Half Marathon another chance. Last year I struggled with an injury and was only able to do the 5K. I hope to run a few times a week, swimming and biking once or twice a week, and strength training 2-3 times a week (which will include my Tri Power workouts). Actually, I wouldn't mind trying some of the different classes at the Y (that I proclaimed I didn't have time for while training) - such as Kickboxing, BodyPump, Pilates, Yoga, and Hip Hop Hustle?! Wahoo!

Did I mention that I joined the committe for the Fargo Marathon Youth Run? I think we meet once a month! I am super excited!

Well, I am sure the next time I post I will be writing up a race report after Saturday. I wish everyone who is racing this weekend GOOD LUCK and HAVE FUN! That's what's important, right?!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Family, golfing, and training

This past weekend was spent celebrating my grandparents 60th anniversary and my great uncle's 50th ordination. My mom's side of the family is quite large and it was the first time almost all of us were home in the last 10 years. There are 28 grandkids (and then a good number of spouses and significant others) and 6 great grandkids. All of us were present, minus my brother-in-law (who's in Iraq) and then a cousin of mine, her hubby and little daughter. It was pretty impressive. A lot of my grandparents friends and siblings were also there. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful and close family.

Sunday morning we had our annual family golf tournament and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful. It wasn't too hot like in years past; just a nice 70-75 degrees and sunny. We had teams of 4 or 5 people and just play a game of scramble. It was a great time! I even came back with a nice sunburn. I am not proud of it, but it made me realize that summer was finally here.

Four days until the Detroit Lakes Sprint Triathlon and I am ready to get the show on the road. A part of me just wants to be done with training, now that things are starting to get busy with school. But, I know as soon as it is over, I will be looking for my next event to train for.

This race is shorter than the triathlon I did last month, so it will be interesting to see how things play out this time around. Like any other event, here are my goals:

Swim 1/3 mile - 14 minutes
Bike 10 miles - 38 minutes
Run 3.1 miles - 35 minutes

The goal times I have for all three are very reasonable and doable. If I were to really push myself, I would love to finish the swim in 11-12 minutes and the bike under 35. We'll have to see what the race conditions will be like. Last year it was raining and cold with white caps on the water. As of right now, there is a 40% chance of scattered T-Storms, but like any other forcast for the midwest, that will probably change a half dozen times between now and Saturday.

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's not about where you come from

After a couple frustrating runs this week that left my knee feeling tight and uncomfortable, it was only expected that I would feel frustrated. This seems to be an on-going thing, but I wonder if my attempt at speed work is bringing it on.

Anyway, I spent the last few days getting back on track with my Tri Power exercises as well as the exercises I got from my PT this past winter. And this morning I was able to pump out 3.5 miles on the treadmill (really slow, but I'll take it), pain free and then 10 miles on the bike. Ahhh.

I am off for a weekend at home. We are having a 60th anniversary celebration for my Grandparents, 50th Ordination party for my Great Uncle, and then our annual family golf tournament on Sunday. Busy weekend, but it should be fun. Now, if I could only feel prepared for the time I will spend at the piano tomorrow during the anniversary open house. *gasp*

I will leave you with a story about a ND girl, Dagny Knutson. I read it in an old Sports Illustrated this morning while on the bike. Check it out, it's a pretty good story.....

Dagny Knutson, a rising high school senior, is making a - 06.22.09 - SI Vault

Shared via AddThis

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Must. Have. Routine.

I have sucked at blogging since I have returned from NY, and I am sorry. I have sucked even more at following others blogs. I get on, attempt to read a few blogs, may make a few comments, bust mostly I don't do any of the above. In addition, I haven't had much to blog about.

Summer school is winding down this week, I am spending many hours at the piano trying to prepare for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary party this coming weekend, and I am trying to get back on a regular schedule with sleep and training.

Before I get to far, I must take a moment to reflect on my July numbers. Despite taking almost an entire week off while in NYC, minus one run, and a handful of days off after the triathlon, as well as missing 4 out of the 8 days of swim team practice (gah! that's why I didn't sign up for the team for August), I am okay with the numbers:

July Stats:
Swim - 13,500M ................ 18,000M in June
Bike - 98.55 miles.......... 127.78 miles in June
Run - 22.32 miles.......... 30.31 miles in June

Like I said, not the prettiest, but given the "busy-ness" of July, I am okay with this.

On other related news, I am trying to get back on schedule, training for the triathlon that is coming up in less than 2 weeks. I keep asking myself why I chose to do one in August, just before school starts. Things are starting to get busy and I am feeling unprepared for this event. I guess I will just plan to use this race as an experience, and not so much as a race.

Yesterday, after doing some sprints, my knee started to bother me. I hopped in the pool for a bit and actually had to call it quits because my knee continued to bother me in the pool. Then, today, when working on what was supped to be an "easy" 3-4 miler, it started to bother me 2 miles in. I started to get that tightness around the knee. I stopped, stretched it out on the mat, and tried to continue to run. It felt fine when I started to run again, but I could feel it tighten up as I was running (mostly on the upper-outer side). I didn't make it very far before cussing and deciding to call it quits. I was pissed. But, I was trying to play it safe.

From there I went home and spent some quality time with the foam roller and it hurt, nearly bringing tears to my eyes (as I continued to cuss). I am embarassed to say that it's been too long since I have used the foam roller on a consistent basis and the pain while using it was a sure sign.

I really need to get back into doing my TriPower sessions. Grr. If one asked me the last time I did a week of it, straight through, I would have to say it was June. Gasp.

If the difficulties in my knee are due to not stretching on a regular basis, not using the foam roller, and not following my TriPower routine... I will be a happy camper after I start getting back into all of the above.

I hate to admit it, but I am ready to get back to school... and a real schedule. I need structure, people. I must get into a routine.

Ending on a lighter note, I came across this group and had to share. I am usually behind on the new music (you know, living up here in ND - we have crappy access to good music - ha). So, if they aren't new to you, they are to me and I love their music! Enjoy!

Today's Song: Use Somebody - Kings of Leon

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I'll try not to bore you with a really long post about my trip to NYC with the fam, but I am going to point out one or two highlights from each day we were there. ... and then some pics. All in all, it was a great time and I can't wait to go back again!

Us girls flew in and met up with my Dad at our hotel Friday afternoon. We took some time to walk around and checked out Central Park, which was only 3 blocks from out hotel.

We planned to meet up with my cousin and her husband down in the Financial District (where they live) for appetizers and drinks. I can't remember the restaurant or the street it was on, but in the evenings, this street is full of tables and people for after work drinks. It was very neat. It was nice to catch up with them, and the flatbread pizza and martini's were great!

We started the day off with a run through Central Park. This was something that I was really looking forward to doing. Central Park is huge, and full of people everywhere. Unfortunately, we waited until late morning to get out there and run and it was really hot and humid.

As for the rest of the day, we did a lot of walking around and shopping (I didn't really buy anything, however). The NBA Store was probably one of my favs, go figure.

We had a great dinner at an Irish Pub and Restaurant called Oldcastle, which was only a few blocks from out hotel. Once again the food and drinks were great. The martini's were excellent and not too pricey. I highly recommend this place.

We took in Times Square this evening and boy were there people everwhere. I even saw Jason Castro while in Times Square one of the nights! (The ONE time I didn't have my camera attached to my wrist!

We went to church at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The architecture was amazing. The new archbishop was present for mass, along with 3 priests. One of the priests present, Fr. James Shea (age 33), has been a priest in ND for a while and just took on the role of the President at University of Mary in Bismarck. Small world, huh?

This afternoon we took in a Broadway Show, Wicked. I highly recommend it! It was slow going at the beginning, but the storyline is great and I actually want to read the book now!

We were up pretty early this morning to take in the Today Show. Actually, we were there about 30 minutes before the show started and ended up standing near the entrance to the building where the anchors come out! Meredith, Ann, and Al were all out on assignment, but we did snag a few pics of Matt Lauer, and got to meet Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford (they have really soft hands, lol), as well as Natalie Morales!

We took the Subway down to the Financial District again and walked the Brooklyn Bridge. This is a MUST do in NYC. The view is awesome and the bridge is amazing. We walked around the Financial District for a while and checked out Wall Street.

Later this evening we had a great meal at Nocello. An employee at our hotel had recommended it to us, and we were impressed. The italian-style food was delish, and at a very reasonable price. The service was the best we had in NYC.
Today we ventured down to Greenwich Village. This was a nice break from the fast pace of Times Square. We did a lot of walking, going through Washington Square Park, and doing a little shopping along the way.

We also took in tour via boat this evening. It was a 90-minute city lights cruise and was probably one of my favorite things we did on this entire trip. It was so fun to learn about the city and watch it light up right before our eyes as the sun set. If you ever get a chance to do it, you MUST!

We left NYC this morning. It was a jam-packed 5 day trip and I know there were things that we would have liked to have done if we just had more time. (ie. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Strawberry Fields, more shopping, etc.) But, it was a great 5 days with the family!