Category Archives: Holidays

New Year’s Eve in Times Square

During September 2018, Susan and I entered a lottery to be able to purchase tickets to attend a private party at Bubba Gumps in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Every year, Bubba Gumps sells 250 tickets. Since there is a high demand, the restaurant holds a lottery to determine who can purchase tickets. We entered the lottery the previous year and was not selected. Our names were selected this year! So with a few months notice, Susan and I scrambled to make arrangements to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square. This was a bucket list event for Mike.

We decided to make a vacation out of the trip. We arrived in NYC on 12/27/18. On our first day, we went to the 9/11 Museum. Last time we were in New York, they were beginning construction on the memorial. We truly enjoyed the museum. It is one place where everyone seemed to understand the importance. The wall to the left (depicted below) was one of the original walls for the World Trade Center.

Looking down into the 9/11 Museum.

That evening we went to the longest running broadway show, Phantom of the Opera. The show was amazing. We see why it has been on Broadway so long. After the show, we went to Junior’s Cheesecake. Susan and I had a burger and enjoyed a slice of authentic New York cheesecake.

Outside the Majestic Theater on Broadway.

Our next day we started by traveling to a Jewish Community in Brooklyn. We went to Di Fara Pizza to try their classic pizza. I read several good reviews for the place. Get there early. The line went out the door shortly after 12. After enjoying a couple of slices of pizza, we headed to the Brooklyn Brewery. The Brewery was okay. It didn’t have that craft brewery feel. Every time you wanted a beer you had to get into a single line at the bar.

That evening we went to the Village Underground, which is a part of the Comedy Cellar. We sat front row for the comedy show. They had about six comedians scheduled to perform. They surprised us with a special guest. It was Tracy Morgan! Tracy was sitting just several feet from Susan and I. He was so funny. A bit drunk, but funny.

Susan and I with the MC of the comedy show.

The following day we went to Grand Central Station. We just wanted to see the station. I didn’t realize there was an Apple Store in the middle of the station. After walking around the station for a bit, we headed to our second show, Stomp. Stomp was better than I was expecting. The musicians interjected bits of comedy into the show that made it quite nice. From Stomp, we headed to Rokafeller Center to see the famous Christmas Tree.

Christmas Tree at Rokafeller Center.

On December 31st, we took it easy during the day. During the day we walked to Highline Park. Our AirBNB host recommended it. The park is an old train track that is built above the city. We enjoyed walking along the route. The train line was about two or three floors above street level.

We were suppose to arrive in Times Square around 8:45. We arrived at that time and started making our way through NYPD security. It rained the entire night. Getting through NYPD security was difficult because there was a lot of confusion. The gate we were at was only for ticketed guest. A lot of people without tickets thought they could get into Times Square through the same gate. The security line was chaotic at best.

Once we got through security, we were whisked into Bubba Gumps. The staff did an amazing job. There was tons of food (a seafood station, pass arounds, and a buffet). Around 11:45, Susan and I went out into Times Square and stood directly in front of the tower the ball was located on. The experience was everything we imagined. I am glad we were able to go! After the ball drop, we were walking back into Bubba Gumps and Bebe Rexha walked right passed us and said hi! That was cool. Not something that happens in Pensacola!

Our view the ball drop. The ball is above the lighted tower.

What better way to celebrate New Year’s than a Polar Plunge. We have done a couple in Florida, but never in a northern state. I found a polar plunge at Coney Island. This plunge was huge! There were so many people. The weather wasn’t that bad. The air temperature was in the 50s. The water temperature was reported to be 47 degrees. It stung going in! It was so much fun though. They had a drum core lining the entrance. I recorded a video of us getting into the water. You can view the video on youtube. After the polar plunge, we headed to the Coney Island Brewery and the Other Half Brewery to try and warm up. Other Half Brewery was an awesome brewery that had several beers that we loved.

After the Coney Island Polar Plunge.

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Christmas 2014

The best part about Christmas 2014 was that we were able to spend it with most of our family. I was actually off this year! I guess that made up for working on Thanksgiving. On Christmas Eve, Brian came over to our house to spend the night. I think he was worried DSCN0463about if Santa would find him after he has moved around so much during the previous year. Aaron lucked out and received a MacBook Pro. Susan was quite happy that she would be able to use her laptop at the house now. We gave Brian a new Motorola Andriod phone. He was pretty excited since he broke his last phone. Forrest is always confused with all of the excitement on Christmas mornings. He usually gets lost in his stocking. My mom and stepdad came in Christmas afternoon. It was nice to be able to see them for the holiday. It was a quick visit. They had to DSCN0496leave the next day, and so did we.

On the day after Christmas, we drove to Montgomery to visit Susan’s family. We stayed at her brother’s house for the weekend. We did a lot of catching up. All of the cousins were able to get together. While in Montgomery we went to a Dillard’s discount store. It was our first time in that type of Dillard’s. We also went to the Mexican restaurant that Susan’s mom loved.

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New Years Eve 2013

For New Years Eve 2013, Susan and I rented a room at the Days Inn on Pensacola Beach. We joined four of the other friends at the beach. We ate dinner at Hemmingways.  After dinner we DSC00876went to Capt’n Funs Beach Club to ring in the New Year. We got to Capt’n Funs just in time to see Clemson beat LSU! Go ACC!

The boys celebrated New Years Eve in downtown Pensacola. Brian and Aaron watched the Pelican drop. Shortly after midnight, they joined us at the beach.

The photograph is of Susan and I with our friend Shannon at dinner.

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Christmas 2012

For Christmas this year, we stayed at our home in Pensacola, FL.  My mom and stepdad droveDSC00821 over from New Orleans to celebrate with us. I had to work until 2am on Christmas Eve. Shortly after I went to bed, the boys got up to see if Santa came.  Santa must have made a very quick visit, but he did come. Brian got a nice camera. Aaron got the new iPod Touch, some video games and some clothes. Susan got a Coach purse, a box of goodies from Victoria’s Secret, some FSU clothing and a linen set.  I got some Bose headphones for running, a FSU cooler, some clothes to wear to school and some Vibram Fivefingers.  Susan and I gave my mom and stepdad tickets to DSC00868Cirque du Soleil. On the right is a photograph of Brian playing with Forrest and his stocking.

On the day after Christmas, we traveled to Mobile, AL, to see some of my family. We have not seen many of them in almost ten years. The day was nice. The boys enjoyed playing pool while the adults sat around and caught up. To the left is a group photograph that we took right before we left.

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New Years 2011

New Years 2011 was our best New Years ever. On December 30, 2010, we traveled to Atlanta, GA. When we arrived in Atlanta, we checked into our hotel room and left immediately to meet two of newyears20111my cousins for dinner. We met Lisa and Tracy for pizza. We has not seen his two cousins in several years. It was nice catching up with Lisa and Tracy. We had a lot in common with them. Lisa is a marathon runner. I was training for a marathon. Tracy teaches school, so her and Susan compared their school districts. After dinner, we walked to the Georgia Aquarium. The purpose of our trip to Atlanta was to watch the Chick Fil A Bowl on New Years Eve. The aquarium was hosting a fan party the night before the game. The team’s cheerleaders were there. Our friends Dan and Sam met us at aquarium. We enjoyed the exhibits at the aquarium. Brian and Aaron liked the petting tank the most. On the right is a photograph of Brian and Aaron at the aquarium. After checking out the aquarium we went back to the hotel. The adults stayed up late playing cards.

On the following day we set out to find Susan a new hair iron. I broke the iron when he was newyears20112pulling luggage out of the trunk. We found a hair iron in downtown Atlanta. We even found a Moe’s to eat at. We then went to the Georgia Dome for the Chick Fil A Bowl. FSU was playing against South Carolina. This was our first bowl game. Before the game, they dropped a lot of cows from the ceiling. The cows parachuted down like the commercial. I caught one of the cows for Aaron. South Carolina was ranked higher than FSU. A lot of people expected SC to win. Florida State played an amazing game. FSU won 26-17. The photograph on the left is Susan and I before the game started.

The game ended a little before 11pm on New Years Eve. We walked from the Georgia Dome to Underground Atlanta. We wanted to watch the Peach Drop. When we got near the Peach Drop, the police had the roads blocked. We could not get near Underground Atlanta. A teenager was shot near the Peach Drop. We walked into a parking garage and was able to see the lighted peach. At midnight we watched the Peach Drop from a distance. Atlanta had a firework show that started after the Peach Drop. We couldn’t see the fireworks though. They were being lit from the top of the parking garage we were in. The New Years Eve celebration turned into a funny disaster. We decided to call it a night and walked back to the hotel, which was about another mile. The poor girls were in pain since both were wearing high heeled boots. At the hotel we realized we were hungry. We ordered take out Thai food, which was actually real good. After feeding our hunger, thenewyears20113 adults hung out in the hotel bar.

We left New Years day for home. We stopped in Montgomery to visit with Susan’s mom. Susan’s mom watched Wiggles for us. We decided to stay with Susan’s mom for a night at the last minute. The photograph on the right is Susan and her mom on New Years day.

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Christmas 2010

The week of Christmas 2010, we traveled to New Orleans, LA, to visit with my family. We walked around the French Quarter to witness Christmas in New Orleans. We stopped at a hotel that was decorated real nice. We also went to Christmas on Fulton Street. Harrah’s Casino xmas20101decorates the street with Christmas trees, lights and fake snow. We also went to a concert that was held in the St. Louis Cathedral. The next day we went to a cooking demonstration in the French Quarter. We visited the Katrina Museum, which was breathtaking. For lunch we ate gyros near Bourbon Street. We capped off the visit with a nice ham dinner prepared by mom. The photograph on the right is of everyone in a French Quarter hotel.

After a busy three days in New Orleans we returned home to celebrate Christmas. We had a quite Christmas celebration with just the four of us. On Christmas morning Brian and Aaron woke up xmas20102around one in the morning. Susan got up and chased them back to bed. This Christmas was the biggest yet for the boys. Brian received a Macbook and Aaron received a 32″ LCD television for his room. My present was probably the best of all. I got four tickets to the Chick Fil A Bowl, which FSU was playing in. Susan would probably argue her present was the best though. She received a new Mazda 6 unexpectedly. The Mazda will replace the Honda she has been driving since 1998. The photograph on the left is of Susan and I Christmas morning.

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Thanksgiving 2010

We spent Thanksgiving 2010 in Montgomery, AL, with Susan’s family. We arrived in Montgomery the night before Thanksgiving. We went to Susan’s sister’s house for a short visit. The following thanksgiving2010day we drove to Maggie and Tom’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. All of Susan’s immediate family were able to make the gathering. We had a real nice time. The cousins spent time catching up with each other. I went on call Thanksgiving night at midnight. So we had to leave Montgomery that evening. We had a nice visit with Susan’s family even though it was cut short. Here is a photograph of the entire family.

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New Years 2010

On New Years Eve 2010, we went to downtown Pensacola to watch the Pelican drop. This was our second year to watch the Pensacola Pelican drop. Mom joined us for the newyears2010pelican drop. We enjoyed walking around, watching the bands and then watching the pelican drop at midnight. At midnight there was also a fireworks show. Here is a photograph of the lighted Pelican dropping.

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Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009 was another wonderful Christmas with for our family. On December 12, 2009, we attended the Fraternal Order of Police Christmas party. Many of my coworkers were at the party. When the party closed, most of us went to Seville Quarter to dance.

The week of Christmas we went to Montgomery, AL, to spend time with Susan’s family. We had a xmas20091very nice time. On December 22, 2009, Susan’s family got together at her mother’s house. We ate a big dinner and finished the night playing dirty Santa. We received some nice presents. The photograph on the right is of Brian, Aaron and their cousins in Montgomery. When we left Montgomery, we brought Susan’s mom back with us so she could celebrate Christmas at our house.

I was able to be off of work for this Christmas. I went around the house around 5am and woke everyone up. Everyone received xmas20092some very nice gifts. Brian received a new television. Both of the boys got a new Playstation 3. I got a painting of the Pensacola Bay area that I asked for. Susan received some nice boots that she had her eye on for awhile. After everyone was done opening gifts, Susan cooked a nice ham dinner. The photograph on the left is of Susan and I on Christmas morning.

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July 4th, 2009

On July 4th, 2009, we spent the day on our boat. Our friend, Dan, joined us. Brian’s girlfriend, Brittany, also joined us. During the day, we docked at Pensacola Beach, behind july4th2009Flounders Restaurant. My foot was still bandaged from the accident in June. I was not able to get into the water. It made for a very hot day. At night, we relocated to Pensacola Bay. We anchored our boat in the bay to watch the fireworks. This was the first time watching the fireworks from Pensacola Bay. It was very peaceful. Here is a photograph of Susan and I while anchored in Pensacola Bay.

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