Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Sweet Sixteen (St. Pat's) Bday Recap--NYC Style! (beware, picture heavy!!) :)

Well, here ya' go....a picture-heavy post of our NYC girl's Sweet 16 Surprise bday.  Here is the pic she sent me after I sent her a text early that morning.  She was in the subway on the way to school.  First time she has had school on her bday.  Glad at least that she wore some green so as not to get pinched on her bday! 

 Here's the text I sent her...and the pic above is what she sent me back... :)  I was trying to be so secretive about our whereabouts...I think I succeeded :)
 And here we were in the neighboring state of NJ...chilling in our fancy hotel room...eating old donuts.  Lo is a little scared bc he ate the last donut and was sure someone was going to hunt him down (Dylan?) :)  I really have no idea why he is making this face, but he's one crazy kid...and crazier after a donut or two!
 Our fancy bfast at the motel.  It actually wasn't that bad.  My only complaint is there was no place to sit really...and they only had one waffle machine...so took like 30 mins for us to get our food...at least.  I guess that was two complaints.  But for a cheap hotel with free bfast, it was ok.
 And before we knew it we were off to NYC...for the first time on a bus...a mini-bus...that we took from our hotel.  It was actually ok.  We had the whole back to ourselves.  It was the lap of luxury.  I got our photo props out and we were ready to go and surprise our girl!  I should probably mention here that we never told the kids we were going to NYC to see Hailey...so the surprise was on them too. We gave them lots of hints and they knew they were going somewhere once we packed and got in the van, but we never told them where (or anyone for that matter!) and they never really guessed until this moment.  It was fun.  I didn't think they'd care much about it, but the surprise meant a lot to them...maybe even more to them than Hailey :)  It especially drove Shelb crazy. She hates surprises!
                                                
 All decked out in green too for our first St. Pat's in NYC!  Ready to rock those streets with our Steg-St. Pat's-coolness :)
 The bus dropped us off right by Times Square and we were off...taking in the sweet fresh air of the Big Apple.  But all Loggy wanted to do was see his "Hayeeee!".  That is what he was saying here, "I want to see Hayeeee now!"  Poor kid didn't understand she was in school and then rushing off to morning ballet. 
 Stopping outside one of the Irish Pubs. Not that we celebrate drinking (or that we are Irish), but each one was decorated with lots of nice Irish flags!
 Outside the Today Show.  Shelby was majorly bummed...I guess Divergent (or the sequel) had come out that day and the girl was on the Today show.  Had I known I would have taken her.  Though our bus from the hotel didn't leave til it was probably too late to get in line for it.  Next time we might try to do it...it was fun (remember how much Loggy loved it when he was 6 months old...he was a TV star!) :)
 Good ol' Rockefeller Center was rockin' on St. Pat's.  It was right where the parade was going to be starting.
                                               
 Me and my gang fighting the crowds at Rockefeller Center.  They had some of it blocked off due to the parade around the corner...there was quite the crowd forming here.
 We had to make a pit stop at the Magnolia Bakery.  We know Hailey gets plenty of their cupcakes (she has one of these bakeries by SAB....and Nina and Poppy Stegs often send her some)...so we decided to get her something different in honor of her bday.
 ...a mini keylime cheesecake!  Green...of course!  And we did get a St. Pat's cupcake too for us :) We were on a tight budget so this was all we got for the 7 of us!
 Outside the bakery.  We love this place!  I am sure Hailey gets tired of it...it's probably too touristy for her! lol :)
 I was not kidding about the crowds.  Masses of people and not a good place to try to maneuver with a stroller.  The parade had just started.
 We lost daddy temporarily, but we found him :)
 Lo had the best seat in the house.  Not sure what Shelby is doing?
                                                  
 We really could not see a thing...just too many people.
                                                  
 LOL...this is what D thought of the parade apparently :)  Not all that exciting...lots of bands, lots of military...some cool bagpipes, but no floats or not even any Irish step dancers (at least Chicago had that at that parade).  Oh well.  Ya' gotta try it once.  I do think there were less drunkards here than in the Chicago parade. 
 Me and my 4
 LOL...had to break out the green facial hair :)  Dylan has this thing that he won't smile when he has it on.
 LOL...I hope he never has a mustache...he might always have this look on his face :)
 Lo is probably thinking..."what is the big deal about this parade?"  Not much!
 Two of my cute guys...
 Awww, love this kid!  The last time he saw a St. Pat's parade he was in a helmet.  Time flies!
 A nice guy took our pic...
 No idea why I posted all these...but I did.
 One more...bc you can never have enough group shots...I am sure Hailey would agree!  I should have brought our clone Hailey head to see the parade...she would have loved it!
 We decided not to fight the crowds and watch the parade....but we did get one last shot of Shelb and I with the a marching band.
 Lots of St. Pat's souvenirs out!  I almost bought Hailey one of these I LOVE NY (St. Pats style) shirts....I know she would have loved it!  She is a tourist at heart :)
 Love the horses in Central Park...I think they are well taken care of. 
 One of my fav. things about NYC is CP.  Love this park.  Green surrounded by city.  Such a fun thing to see!
 Looking for turtles at the Central Park pond.  I forgot how cold it would be and not many would be out....but waaaaay behind her there was log and about 7 turtles sunning themselves on it.  So cute!  Shelb loves turtles!
 I have no idea what they were arguing about...maybe turtles?
 Trying to spot more turtles.  We didn't see any.  Lots of ducks, but no turtles. We will have to rent a rowboat in June bc that pond has tons of them!
 Me and my baby...such a pretty park.
 My gang.......and I will say one thing. They were cracking down hard on St. Pat's drunks in the park. Lots of young drinkers were sitting on benches with breath-alizers.  I was glad to see Police were out taking care of things.
 LOL...waiting in line for lunch and we spotted someone with the St. Pat's sweater we were going to get Hailey from Target!  Nice!
 A Nathan's hot dog! Great/cheap lunch!
 LOL...I think Lo is saying how yucky hotdogs are. But he could also be closing his eyes bc some drunk college kids were peeing in the park right behind us.  Oh joy.  I was trying to shield our lunch group from seeing that bc it was not appetizing.  Ugh.
 Such a sweet group....wish we had one more green kid in the bunch...
                                                 
 ...but this is what she was doing...drinking a bday creme soda in chemistry class.  Oblivious to us being in the same city as her :)
                                                  
 She got something sweet for her bday from Nina and Poppy Stegs...Baked by Melissa mini bite-size St. Pats cupcakes!  Yumm!  I still am bummed she did not share with us...there were 24 here!
 So funny to watch the birds trying to feast off the horse food. They were actually in the bucket while the horse was eating.  Crazy pigeons!
 The cool globe sculpture at Columbus Circle....which is right near Lincoln Center.
 Finally, we were here!  I attempted to get a pic of Hay's 16th bday crown next to the light-up steps.  Love these steps....very cool at night.  They said SAB too, but I could not catch it. 
 Ya' can't ignore this crazy gang walking across Lincoln Center. :)  We scream "tourists" much to Hailey's dismay! :)
 Mini Hailey wearing the crown with pride :)
 And then she surprised us.  I had gone inside with two of the kids (Dylan and Shelby) to go to the bathroom. We were gone all of 5 mins and of course, she got off the subway then.  We were tracking her too, but apparently you can't track a phone when it's on the subway.  So she surprised us...with two of her friends from school.  I heard she was quite surprised when she came up the steps and saw daddy and Logan and Ash there...but no idea.  Wish I had been there.  But the surprise was on us I guess! :)  This was our first glimpse of her.  I took a pic coming out of the building. 
 They were so excited to see her :)  Lo looks especially captivated...with his snack!
 Even Shelb was very happy to see her biggest sis...and Shelb is not one to get this excited usually.
 Even Dylan was pretty psyched.  He never gets excited about stuff like this...ever.
 Lo just wanted to lick Hayeee...nice.
 I am sure she had mixed emotions about us being there...but I think it was still fun to surprise her :)  Her Lo just loved being in her arms :)
 They were wild!
 Seriously...licking...his new thing apparently.
 Love these two together :)
 Awww...13 years apart but so sweet.
                                                 
 The bday girl in all her glory!  Go Sweet 16-er!
 Had to get a couple quick shots of the whole gang with the props...
 Hard to believe we have a daughter who could celebrate 16 years of life...and was doing so in NYC
                                                    
 One of her resident leaders walked by at this point so she took a pic of us...love it! Our whole gang together for her bday.  Love.
 Best part of my day (aside from being in the same city as my bday girl!) was watching her dance for 1.5 hours.  I was blessed to get permission to watch her variations class (taught by Ms. Mazzo).  Loved it.  You can't take pics on that floor so I took one on the main floor as I said goodbye.  But I loved the class and it was a dream come true for her to watch her dance on her 16th bday.  The girls also all sang happy bday to her as they left the class. It was cute. Their tradition I guess.
                                                 
 And this is what Kev and the kids did for those 1 1/2 hours.  Fun, fun, fun!  At least it was a semi-nice day!  Being crazy in Lincoln Center.
                                                  
 And they spotted a pic of Joshua Bell. If only we had stayed a few more days in the city, we could have seen him play! Darn!
 When I came out of Hailey's class this is what I spotted....my gang....far away...playing....
 One finally gave up and fell asleep!
 The rest were running...and running!
 These are some of my fav. pics....I don't remember why I was even taking a pic of them....but I love the fountain so it was probably that...
 Dylan is just cracking himself up!
 He's a goofball!
 They all are....
 hahaha :)
 love them...
 We do have fun sometimes...
                                            
 Kev taking a pic of me taking a pic of them being goofy...nice.
 And while Hailey went to her mandatory cultural meeting...we went back to Central Park!
 We hung out on the big rocks for a bit...one brother hugged another brother...a little too hard :)
 Love these boys!
                                                 
 One of my fav. shots...something so peaceful about a big park within a big city.
 crazies in the park...watch out!
 We found the coolest playground in the park by Hailey's area...like a castle!
 The kids loved it...they ran and ran.
 And then we raced off to meet Hays back at the fountain so we could get dinner.  Love these cuties!
 I know she hated me torturing her for pics...but how could I not get a few pics of her on her 16th bday?!  Apparently she was ok with no pics. Someday she will thank me...maybe....
 awww, love this!  One of my fav. pics of the day!
 Not sure what was going on here....
 or here? Maybe she is thinking twice about being 16?  Or maybe she is wishing herself away from our crazy touristy selves...
 She is a Sweet 16 year old!
 And I do appreciate her acting like a tourist this one time...for me...
                                                
 LOL...our attempt at a selfie by the fountain with props....
                                                 
 Geez, Shelb....never fails for a good face!  Hopefully she will be my Sweet 16-er that likes her pic taken in 4 years!
 ...and a nice pic of the sisters....
 One last shot of her...no crown, no props...just a beautiful 16 year old in her home away from home...
 And then we walked.....(can you spot her?)
 And walked....I was not kidding about her walking a block ahead of us.  If I had any doubts about her being a New Yorker, they were squelched after this.  The girl left us in her dust!  And I am pretty sure she did not want to be seen with embarrassing photo-taking freaks like us!  I guess I don't blame her. Plus she was not real happy with our food choices. We had limited funds and very fussy siblings...so all the places she picked, we turned down.  I think she was fed up with us...and she just wanted to eat and not walk, esp. on her bday.  But it was nice to have a tour guide to follow!
 Shake Shack it was...our bday meal of choice. Well, not really her meal of choice...apparently she had been there 5 times total and did not want to visit any place more than that. Sorry...we made it visit number 6.  She amused us. They took some funny selfies and put them on instagram....a really funny one of her and Logan with their faces switched.  I wish I had it. 
 Burgers and fries from the best burger place. I think that's a good bday meal?!  Not sure what D is doing? lol :)
                                            Her custard dessert. Yumm!  Sweet girls!
                                                  
 Chowing...I was just glad we found a spot to sit.  I thought we might have to eat on the street. This place was hopping as usual!

                                                  
 Then we made the long walk back to SAB.  It is a trek. I don't blame her for not wanting to walk. At least this time she didn't leave us in her dust!
 We saw some cool St. Pat's signs along the way...May your day be blessed with luck and love. I liked this!
 We stopped at Magnolia Bakery...they had his funny artwork up. I should have gotten a Pistachio cupcake...Hays likes pistachios and we love Magnolia cupcakes!  In hind sight we should have done our bday celebration here too...but we didn't know that at the time.  We headed back to the dorms and she and Shelb went inside to get the treats we had bought earlier.  We had no idea where to do our singing....and it was so windy and kinda cold out.
 But as Stegs do...we make do with circumstances...and we copped a squat in the area by the pool where the kids hung out earlier that day with dadddy...and we lit up 16 candles on that mini-cupcake and mini-cheesecake and sang to our girl. I think she was not amused and it was cold and windy and the candles would not stay lit...but she amused us (sorta).  And I am pretty sure we were close to getting reprimanded by security in the area...
                                                 
 I think we had to relight the candles a couple times...I can't even remember.
                                                
 But we helped her blow them out...and that was that.  Nothing fancy.   And she did not light her hair on fire as in year's past.  Good idea to wear it in a bun all day! The ballerina has gotten smarter over time!
 Sweet 16 year old with her fancy bday "cake".  I probably should have gotten her something fancier than this, but it was the easiest to carry around all day and I really don't think she likes cake that much.  And you can't go wrong with cheesecake in NYC!
                                                  
 Should have gotten a pic of us with our girl before dark...but this was the best we could get.  Hard to believe I gave birth to her 16 years ago and now look at her....making us proud in the Big Apple!
                                                  
 Things went wrong here....apparently Lo decided to do a blow-out poop.  Poor Hailey got it all over her hand...not the end to her bday she was hoping for :)
                                                 
 And off she stormed to her dorm...disgusted with poopy hands.  Only a Steg bday would end this way. :) :) :)
 And we were off too...back to our NJ home.  Love the fountain at night!
 Love Lincoln Center at night!
 A panoramic of the area at night...with our stroller and gang in the corner!
 Time to take the subway...our first time on this trip!  Lo (and Shelb) were fascinated.  Lo loves trains now...so this is right up his alley!
                                                  
 Teaching Lo about subway safety :)  I wouldn't want Hayeee teaching him...she pushes that yellow line.
 chillin' on the subway...looking tired...
 LOVE!  I had heard the Empire State Building was green on St. Pat's  Sure enough...we got off the subway and there it was!  Cool!
                                                 
 Had to get a pic in front of it.  Love this city!
 A cheap souvenir...gum...in the make-up dept...at Macy's, I think?!
 Some time in Times Square.  We really sat to watch Elmo...see Lo pointing at him. We didn't want to point too much or he would come over and expect a pic and a tip. 
 A quick trip to Times Square to see the crazies there.
 We found them...a very ugly/scary adult dressed up like a baby and Spidey hanging with him. Only in Times Square!
 We went to Times Square just to go to the Hershey's store for our special message. Love this place...they hand out free candy...and have huge candy and bottles of syrup! Yumm!!
 Waiting for our message to appear on the store!  And you can see our Crown Plaza hotel behind us...missed staying here this time around.  It's an awesome location.  M&M is across the street.
 Finally....it was coming across the screen!
 It was not easy to take a pic of...hard to see from across the street so we had to go right under it to take one.  This is the best we could get. Wish Hays could have been with us, but she had hw and studying to do. So we sent her a pic. I think she thought it was cool. Cheapest gift in NYC...$5 for a message.  Wish I had known this for all the anniversaries we spent here the last 4 years!
 sleepy bunch leaving NYC!
 Hays went back to her dorm and opened all her bday gifts...she had lots of them!  This was one of her favs from her best friend, Maggie, back home.  Birthday in a box.  I hope she decorated her room with some of it. Love all the gold.  And she wore the scarf half the day (see pics of the green scarf from her bday dinner)
 She loved Great-Grandma Fergie's old pearls....she was so excited she took a pic and sent it to me and Nina in FL.
 Her pile of mail and goodies...yikes, that's a lot of love from friends and family!  Thank you, all!
                                        
 And while she was opening her gifts...we were on the bus ride back to our lil' NJ motel.  One fell asleep right away.
                                            
 The others were not far behind.

Yes, it was a crazy trip...very last minute...we bought the hotel ticket the night before...we didn't tell a soul we were going.  It was one surprise after another.  We didn't get to see our girl for more than a few hours on her bday...but it was worth every penny spent and every hour spent.  I wouldn't have changed a thing.  It meant a lot to our family to be together on this special day.  Her first birthday away from home and in the big city.  So grateful to my grandma and Aunt Mary for making it possible.  It was a blessing to make this trip. Lots of crazy times, but lots of great memories.  Happy Sweet 16, Hailey Nicole! I know we infringed on your NYC territory, but we loved seeing your sweet bday face that day!  It will always be ingrained in this mama's heart and mind. Love, love, love you, girl!
                                          

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