Leaving Behind a Legacy

It is hard to believe that November has come and gone and December is here!

With the Thanksgiving holiday, many of us spend extra time counting our blessings and reflecting on the many things we are grateful for in our lives. As I have spent time in prayer and reflection over my own life this past year as well as looking forward to adventures to come in 2019, I have found myself thinking a lot about God’s plan for my life, how He wants me to serve others, how He wants me to love others, and how through His will I can leave a small impact on this world.

Much of these thoughts began to stir in my heart as we celebrated the life of Mark’s grandmother,
Edna Ferry, who passed away in October.

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This is Mark’s grandmother holding his dad, Mike.

She was truly one of the most beautiful ladies I have ever known. At her funeral service, Mark’s dad shared about his Mom and the description of a worthy woman from Proverbs 31.

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I wanted to share Mike’s words with you. For clarity’s sake, Carla is Mike’s sister.

“For as long as I can remember, I have been in awe of Mom’s strength, character, dignity and the other attributes that she displayed.  I suppose that by the world’s standards, she was not remarkable.  She was not highly educated, never had a lot of money and certainly never sought fame or power.  But, I never saw her complain or bemoan what she did not have.  She was one of the most positive people I have ever known and she always seemed to me to be completely comfortable with who she was.  She was content to be a farm wife, homemaker, mother, grandmother and all the other roles that she took on and she did them so well.  Carla says that she thinks being a mother was the biggest part of how she saw herself as that is what she wanted on her tombstone: a woman holding the hand of a little boy and little girl.

Last Sunday morning, Carla called me and told me that Mom was not doing well and that it appeared the end was near.  As I sat in church that morning,  the music was all about heaven and everything reminded me of Mom. I turned in my bible to Proverbs 31 and that beautiful description of a worthy woman.  I had brought a NLT bible that day, so the language was modern.  As I looked at that description, I thought about how Mom’s life so closely matched that description.  I want to use some parts of that scripture to illustrate.  I sat down on Tuesday afternoon to work on this and I sent out a message to my family and asking for their thoughts about Mom and her life.  A little while later my phone dinged and I looked and Ruth had written Proverbs 31:10 and following could have been written about her!  When I read that I thought, “OK, I’m on the right track here.”  Proverbs 31:10 says:

(10) Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. (11) Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.

Mom and Dad were married for more than 67 years.  For more than 50 of those years, they farmed, working side by side, building their life, family and home.  If Dad were here he would absolutely say that she was more precious than rubies and she greatly enriched his life.  When her dementia reached the point that she needed lots of care, Dad said, “She has taken care of me for more than 60 years, now I need to do everything I can to take care of her.”


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(15) She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household. (17) She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.

Her youngest grandson, Travis particularly remembers those breakfasts she prepared as being special.  In fact, one of the favorite memories of all the grandchildren is breakfast at Mammaw’s. 

Mom was a very hard worker.  For more than 35 years, they milked cows.  Mom would get up at 4 AM go milk, then prepare breakfast.  Throughout the day she took care of everything else around the house, Then in the afternoon, she would go back to the barn and milk again.  Then back to the house to fix supper.  For 35 years, she did that every day, seven days a week with never a vacation or break.  The only times she missed was a couple of times when she suffered a broken bone and couldn’t help.  Remarkable.

Carla remembers that she was in college the first time Mom broke her arm.  It was around Christmas and she came home.  She and Dad together took on the task of doing what Mom usually did.  According to her that proved to be an impossible task.  She said that she and Dad would often laugh about their joint effort to make gravy and how they enjoyed every slice.

Shortly after they sold the dairy cattle and quit milking, I asked her if she was enjoying not having to get up so early and go to the barn and milk.  Her response surprised me but really shouldn’t have.  She said “To tell you the truth, I kinda miss it.”

 Carla says: “I would like to be the hard worker that she was.  She never seemed to be idle.  If she wasn’t at the barn, or in the garden, or canning, or freezing, or housework, she was quilting or reading or doing needlepoint.”

When Mom and Dad sold the farm and moved to town, they continued to get up early and walk.  We came to visit and Mom was telling me that they walked every morning.  Then she said “Of course, we won’t walk while you all are here.”  I asked her what time they walked and she said “we meet Mary Nell Graham down at her house at ten til five each morning.”  I quickly told her that they could go ahead and walk and it would not interfere with our visit in the least.

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(20) She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.

Mom did a lot of things for a lot of people.  There was her aunt, Ollie Beauchamp, both my grandmothers, and Aunt Virgie Wilson.  As all of those reached the point in their lives that they needed help, Mom was there to help see to those needs.  Grandson Christopher said when he thinks of Mammaw he remembers her sitting at Granny Beauchamps side at the nursing home.  She was so committed to caring for Granny.

 In addition, she kept in touch with a lot of people by phone.  She checked on them regularly, making sure they were doing ok.  I used to tease her some times when the phone would ring and she would begin to talk.  Often, I could tell who she was talking to by the tone of her voice.  She would unconsciously take on some of their speech patterns.

 For most all of my adult life, I have lived a long way off.  Mom was a faithful letter writer and a very good letter writer.  Her letters were filled with news and kept us up to date on what was going on in their lives.  When the granddaughters left home, she did not forget them and wrote letters to them.  Where she found the time, I don’t know, but her love and concern for people was wonderfully demonstrated by her actions.  Ruth mentioned how she accepted people into her world whether it be into the family or  new neighbors or wherever.  She showed her love.

(26) When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. (27) She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

It was a very rare thing to hear Mom say anything bad about anyone and if she felt it necessary she was extremely uncomfortable doing it.  Gentleness and kindness were such a strong part of her makeup.

 Anne: I cannot think of a better example of a person who showed the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) in her daily living, her demeanor, her relationships, and every word I ever heard her speak.  She was an amazing woman.  Over the years as a mother myself, I have prayed for  and sought ways to achieve the fruit of gentleness. I’ve always hoped my kids would look back on their raising and remember me as a gentle mother.  Though I have not achieved that myself, I can confidently say that is a legacy left by Mammaw, a gentle mother and grandmother, an excellent role model for me.  I especially love the verse “Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5.  Mammaw’s gentleness was evident to us all, as she clearly walked closely with our Lord.

There is a bit of irony in Anne’s mention of the fruits of the Spirit.  If I was at home, I would be teaching a Sunday School lesson tomorrow from Galatians 5 which contains the teaching about the fruits of the Spirit.  I agree with Anne that Mom’s life showed the fruits of the Spirit and is a strong affirmation of her faith.

(28) Her children stand and bless her.

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Thoughts from the children and grandchildren.

Carla: It seemed to me Mom always knew what to say in any situation, good times or bad.  In our family, it’s a good thing she did.  I remember her always helping people out in any way she could.  Amongst our musical family, Mom was completely tone deaf.  But, when we were little, I remember her singing hymns at home when no one else was around.  She knew all the words but there was no recognizable tune!  Everything I know about cooking Mom taught me.  Some things I never mastered, like the yeast rolls she would let rise behind the coal stove in the winter or the jam cake with brown sugar icing.  I have loved her, looked up to her, been supported and guided by her all my life.

 Mark:  What always stands out to me is that I never heard her say a single unkind thing about or to anyone.  I never heard her raise her voice or even show any kind of frustration towards anyone.  She always sought out what she could do to make someone else happy.  She was as selfless a person as I have ever known.

 When I read what Mark said about her never raising her voice or even showing any frustration, I was prepared to share that I had managed to provoke Mom’s wrath on a number of occasions.  However, Christopher shared a story that topped anything I had to offer in that realm. 

 He said: For many years , I viewed Grandad’s job as a dairy farmer as one of the toughest jobs I knew of.  The physical labor aspect, the time commitment, the zero days of vacation.  But as I’ve grown older, I realize the toughest job may actually be the wife of a dairy farmer.  Not only do you share the responsibilities of farming, but you are also the caregiver of the family, the doctor, the chef, and in the case of Mammaw, the disciplinarian.  Grandad would never lay a finger on me.  The same could not be said for Mammaw.  I’ve been spanked with a switch one time in my life and Mammaw has the honor of being on the safe end of that spanking.

 I believe I was about 9 years old.  Mammaw and I were outside the house.  I’m not sure what happened, but if I were to guess, I would say she was making me help her with something that I really didn’t want to help with.  Things escalated and I ended up cussing at Mammaw.  I immediately regretted that decision.  In one motion, Mammaw snatched me up with her left hand, broke off a switch with her right, and wore me out.  Looking back on it, it was a pretty impressive athletic move on her part.  Needless to say, I never did that again.

Karen: I had the same thought as both Mark and Anne.  Gentle.  Even if she was asking us not to do something, she was always gentle. 

I naively did not think much about it as a kid, but I am amazed now at her strength/endurance/dependability(not sure I can find the perfect word I am looking for), but who works that many years with no days off?  So diligent, every morning starting at 4 AM.  It is remarkable.

 I admire how she served us all, but especially watching her take care of granddad.When they got concerned about their health, they changed their lifestyle… the way she cooked and those walks every morning in retirement.She set her mind to something and that was that.I remember once Grandad getting emotional when trying to tell us a story and she saw it and just picked up the rest of the story.So sweet.She loved him well.(a favorite memory would be looking through the giant JC Penney catalog to get ideas for what we might want for Christmas.  Also, the meals! For sure her cooking. 

Trav also mentioned remembering sitting in Mammaw’s lap and her reading to him.  Thursday afternoon we were looking at some pictures and we came across a picture of several of the grandchildren sitting in Mammaw’s lap and she was reading to them.  The expression on her face was one of absolute contentment and joy.

There was a stage in Mom’s dementia when she thought that she was not at home.  Every day she wanted to go home.  She felt the need to check on her Mom and Dad.  There is a sense in which she had it right even in her confusion.  This life is a temporary stop on our eternal journey.  In the best sense of the word, Mom is home now.  Again, Christopher sums it up beautifully.  As much as she will be missed, I’m so glad that she no longer has to deal with Alzheimers.  Revelations 21:4 is used often when dealing with death, but it is especially relevant for someone who has battled this brutal disease fpr as long as Mammaw has.  “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Mammaw no longer has to be forgetful or be confused.  She is again with Grandad, Granny and family members that have gone before.  For that I’m thankful.  Well said!”

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Bro. Billy Carter officiated the service and his first comments were about how much better our world would be if we lived our lives as content as Edna Ferry lived hers. If we loved and cared for those around us the way she did, if we all felt blessed by God for the things we have, and if we lived our lives with a servant’s heart - our world would truly be a better place.

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.”
*This was one of Mammaw Edna’s favorite sayings.*

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E.B. and Edna Ferry

Mark’s grandparents touched the lives of many, including my own. I am a better person having known them. I am in awe of the legacy they have left behind to their family, friends, neighbors, and community. My heart’s desire is to continue their legacy in the way I love others, the way I love Mark and our children, and to pass on to our grandchildren someday.

Thank you for allowing me to share today. I hope their story touches your life as well. And thank you to my father-in-law, Mike, for allowing me to share some of his heartfelt words about his mom. She will forever be cherished in our hearts.

Happy Monday, friends!

XO

LIFE LATELY

Hello Friends and Happy Monday!

It has been a quite a while since I blogged. I had been catching up and sharing about some of our summer trips in early October when we received a call that Mark’s sweet grandmother had gone to be with Jesus. It was unexpected and within less than 24 hours, Mark and I were headed to Kentucky. I’ll share more about his precious grandmother later this week.

All that to say, I came home and had to play some catch up with my business and clients after being gone almost a week. We were in the middle of finishing up soccer and football seasons and starting basketball with the boys and my days have just been crazy busy. I’m thankful for a husband who today has insisted I take some time for myself and get back to blogging. (I love you, Mark Ferry!) I have missed my blogging friends and just sharing about what’s going on in our corner of the world! So, welcome back! I’m excited to see everyone again!

Grab your cup of coffee and get cozy! I have a TON to share with you about our life lately!

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Cutter Maddux, my little reader! If he isn’t playing a sport, you’ll find us at the library trying to keep this kiddo in books. He LOVES to read which makes his Mom and Dad SO happy! In fact, we are struggling to find some more series of books for him. If you know a good series or author for a 4th grader, please share!

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Cutter had perfect attendance for the first six weeks of school and his name was drawn to win this super cute frog! He was PUMPED!



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Cutter finished up his first flag football season in October. His team won 2nd Place!!


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This picture makes my heart so happy! Cutter was able to play on the same team as his cousin, Corban. They are best little friends and had THE BEST time this season!


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This guy had a birthday on October 25th and we celebrated BIG! He was able to get away from work early and we hit the movies (Mark’s favorite place to be!) while the kids were at school.

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I won’t say anything about how old he is but I will point out how HANDSOME he looks for 45!

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We attended a Michael Jackson concert that night! Ha!

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We had fun singing along!

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Our Middle School has pep rallies for the 7th & 8th grade football teams on Thursdays and they have a theme for each pep rally where the students can dress up and participate. This week’s theme was “Super Heroes”. Carson dressed up as Batman and his friends LOVED it! He had a lot of fun dressing up this year! I still can’t believe he’s old enough to be in middle school!

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Halloween this year was cold and rainy. We started our night off with a visit to Mark’s grandmother. Cutter was a ninja and Carson wanted to wear a blue morph suit. (I think he wanted to be like his big brother! Conner wore one last year!)

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Thankfully, the rain let up for a little bit and we were able to get in some trick or treating with cousins. They had a blast! (What happened to Cutter’s other eye?! Ha!)

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Cutter also finished up his soccer season in the past few weeks.

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November soccer is COLD! I was bundled up like a burrito and with MANY layers to make it through the soccer tournament.

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His team were the tournament CHAMPIONS!

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I love this kid so much! He has worked really hard and his team has come so far in learning soccer and their roles on the field. We love our Legends family!

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He also placed 1st for the Fall season! We missed the game where they received their trophies because Mark and I had headed to Arlington to watch Conner’s first varsity basketball game. #multiplekidprobs I snapped this pic with his trophy when we got home!

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Cutter’s school had a Veteran’s Day program in honor of our Veterans. They did such a good job!


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The post office was closed that Monday which meant Mark had a day off! We attended Cutter’s program then spent the day together. We went to breakfast and Christmas shopped! It was cold and we had our first snow flurries. It was THE PERFECT day!

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November also meant the start of basketball season! We are a basketball loving family and this is one of our favorite times of year!!

Conner made the high school varsity team. We love cheering on our #44!

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Yes, I’m the mom who takes pictures during warm-ups before the games too. Ha!

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We are so excited to watch him play his passion!

That’s a little of what we’ve been up to lately!


We are SUPER excited about this week because as much as we love Thanksgiving, the holiday means our college girl is coming home!!! Mom is surrounded by boys and needs her girl!

Have a great week, friends!
See you back here tomorrow!

XO

EAST COAST ADVENTURES PART 4

NEW YORK CITY!

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If you missed my previous posts recapping our trip, you can catch up with
Part 1 - Philadelphia and Atlantic City HERE.
Part 2 - Baltimore, Gettysburg, and Harrisburg HERE.
Part 3 - East Stroudsburg and the Poconos HERE.


It’s our fourth and final day of our trip and we spent it in
NEW YORK CITY!!

We travelled with Mark’s sister, Karen, and her husband, Shannon. They have been to NYC a few times and since we had ONE DAY, we let them choose what all for us to see and do! They did a GREAT job! It was fast and furious and FABULOUS!


Day 4 - Here we go!


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Saturday morning we took our FIRST train ride! Our train left very early from Philadelphia. It was about an hour and a half ride to New York City!

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We arrived in Grand Central Station!




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And when we walked outside…

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We were at Madison Square Garden.

We found the subway, purchased our first Metro cards (tried to act like we knew what we were doing! Ha!) and rode to Battery Park to see…

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the Statue of Liberty!
Definitely a must see and a very humbling moment. Since we only had about 12 hours in New York City, we chose not to go to Liberty Island. However, Mark and I want to make sure we go on our next trip!
* A fun side note - When I was in the 3rd grade, I composed and performed a song on the piano about the Statue of Liberty and I WON 3rd place in the STATE!

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Next, we visited the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero.

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Everyone remembers where they were when they heard about the twin towers on 9/11. I was in college at Hardin-Simmons University. We were having the Inauguration of our new University President that day therefore classes were cancelled. I was enjoying a slow morning at home drinking my coffee and watching Good Morning America. They went live after the first tower was hit and then I watched with the rest of the country as the second tower was hit.

I have seen the images on TV, read books about what happened that horrific day, and have seen Ground Zero and the memorial sights in photographs. However standing there, at the actual place where the two towers once stood, is something I will never forget. Remembering the lives that were lost and those brave men and women who responded. I do hope to go back and tour the 9/11 Memorial Museum someday.

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We walked through St. Patrick’s Cathedral and took in the amazing architecture.


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Absolutely gorgeous stain glass windows!


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Stunning. I could have sat in there for hours looking at all the intricate details.


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We walked and walked and walked! Got in all our steps and MORE!


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So much to see! We were trying our best to take it all in!

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Mark decided to try a New York City hot dog for lunch. I mean, when in New York, you gotta have the street hot dog, right?

The rest of us had 99 Cent Fresh pizza! We grabbed a couple slices and found a spot outside to enjoy our lunch. It just happened there were seats available at the Starbucks across the street. #winning

There are obviously some great places to eat in NYC but again when you are there for 12 hours, our priority was taking in the sights - not the food! 😉

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We found the Ed Sullivan Theatre!


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Times Square! Being on Good Morning America is on my bucket list but snapping a picture in front of it would have to do for now!


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We had tickets to the 2:00pm Broadway show, Waitress, with Katharine McPhee!!


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We were excited for our first Broadway Show! Mark and I both LOVE musicals!

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It was SO GOOD! It was funny. It was witty. The singing was AMAZING!
LOVED. IT.


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When you see your name in lights, you get excited! Ha!


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Karen had been telling us about this amazing cheesecake from Juniors. After our show, we grabbed a slice. It was FANTASTIC! Gosh, I love a good cheesecake and this one did not disappoint! Mark and I shared a slice on our way to Central Park.

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It was gorgeous weather!


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It was much bigger than I expected!
I’m not sure what I expected exactly, but there were so many trails and things to see that we couldn’t do it all. I loved seeing the locals running through the park. I really wanted to grab my tennis shoes and enjoy a run through the beautiful scenery. It also reminded me of the Friends episode where Phoebe runs with Rachel. You know the one where she runs all free like a kid would run flailing her arms in the air?? So funny! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not sure we can be friends. Ha! #friendseveryday


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Speaking of… we found the Friends fountain!!
I sent this picture to Alyssa (she’s a Friends fanatic more than her Momma!) and she was just a little bit jealous. I think we’ll have to take a girl’s trip to NYC!


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We started making our way back to Grand Central Station.

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We did a little shopping popping into a few stores. Mark bought a new watch at Fossil. I’ve never known someone to collect and love watches like Mark. New watches make him happy! :) Shannon grabbed a few items at the Under Armour store too.

When we arrived at Grand Central Station, our train was delayed a few minutes so we grabbed a bite to eat in the train station before boarding. We rode the hour and a half back to Philadelphia, grabbed an Uber back to our hotel, and got to bed around midnight. A few hours of sleep and we were back up at 4:00am to catch our flight home Sunday morning.

A few notes:
*Yes, we hit about 5 Starbucks in NYC but I don’t have a picture of any of them. I did buy a mug! If you are new here, I collect coffee mugs when I travel. I’ll have to do a post to update you guys on my new mugs!

*New York City has a piece of my heart! I LOVED it and am planning a trip back!

*If you read all 4 posts, you will see the recurring theme of very little sleep! Ha! This was not a relaxing vacation. It WAS a TON OF FUN!

*If you are from or currently live in any of the places we visited, I would love to hear from you! Let me know what we should make sure to see and do next time! I know there was so much more we missed!

Thank you for stopping by and sharing in our travels!

Happy Wednesday!
XO