"Two are Better than One!" ~Ecclesiastes 4:9

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yay for Todd!

Before Todd and I met, he decided to go back to school after completing his Pharm.D. to get a secondary graduate degree in Healthcare Administration.  He completed his coursework, but was relocated to Orlando and had to put his capstone and thesis on hold.  Todd recently decided to finish his MHA after several years of work, transitions, traveling, and getting married hijacked his original plan.  Again, Todd was in the middle of his capstone course and final revisions of his thesis when we found out we were being relocated.  However, this time we pushed through to complete everything just prior to packing up our home in Orlando!  I am so proud of Todd for completing his degree after all this time!.  This past weekend was a big celebration of Todd, and his accomplishments over the past several years!  He was able to close out that chapter of his life, and graduated from Seton Hall with honors. 

We arrived in a very rainy and dreary New Jersey on Friday, and I was incredibly sentimental about being back on the East coast.  I must have really been missing home, to land in Newark and feel some sort of sad connection with New Jersey simply because it was on the Eastern coast!  I simply cannot explain this away, and I am not even going to attempt it!  We were staying in a room blocked by the University at a Hilton in Parsippany, NJ, placed amongst acres upon acres of fields and trees.  Room blocks are great, with the exception of the obvious issue:  you are always guaranteed the back corner, and top floor of the hotel surrounded by every other group of people traveling.  This meant we were privvy to the partying, door slamming, and screaming of the wedding party next to us!  Luckily, we were more than exhausted, and somehow switched right back to Eastern Standard Time.  In addition, the Hilton took notice to our pratically-Platinum-Marriott member status (thanks to temporary housing and Todd's travels), and sent little love notes and packages to our room!  Nothing like champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries to make it all okay! ;o)

Todd had a full day of presentations and last minute details before his graduation ceremony on Saturday.  Somehow, the day seemed to fly by and we were en route to Seton Hall before we knew it! ...and he was a graduate yet again (he claims for the final time)!  I surprised Todd with car service and a celebratory Italian dinner at Trattoria Toscana in Whippany that night! 

We extended our weekend in Jersey so that we could go into the city, and stay an additional night.  We moved to our favorite little boutique hotel in New York City at the corner of Park and 57th, Hotel 57 by Renaissance.  Marriott must have known we cheated on them, because we receieved yet another love note and chocolates in our room!  We could get used to this!

My Dad had a layover in New York on Sunday, which was such great timing!  We spent the day with him walking around New York  and doing a little shopping!  ...and Todd did a little number for us on the miniature baby grand at FAO Schwartz.  My Dad said this reminded him of Schroeder, the popular Peanuts character.

We had dinner that night at Park Avenue Spring with my Dad and a good friend of ours who now lives in NYC.  If you remember from our Summer trip to New York, we went to this restaurant when it was Park Avenue Summer, the restaurant closes for 48 hours at the change of each season to completely redecorate and change the menu.  Thank you to my parents for treating us to dinner in honor of Todd!!  We then went back to my Dad's hotel, the gorgeous Roosevelt near Grand Central Station to spend some additional time with him and enjoy a drink in their swanky bar outfitted with stained glass, fireplaces, and dark paneled walls.  We were able to get a picture in the lobby before we parted ways.

The next day included the same cold rain as the days prior.  So, we stayed close to the hotel and did a little shopping on Madison Avenue.  Last time we were in New York, I did some birthday shopping at Coach, and for the last several months they have sent me big coupons exclusive to the flagship store.  When I got one in the mail last month, I held onto it knowing we would be back soon!  My coupon expired a few days earlier, but they still honored it, and were so thoughtful to make sure my new purse stayed dry with a little rain coat for my bag!

We had lunch at Tao, our favorite Asian restaurant in the city.  If you are ever in New York, you must go have a meal there.  They are located next door to the Four Seasons and have a two story buddah featured in their dining room.  You may recognize the restaurant from an episode of Sex in the City.  As always, it was amazing, and we both filled our bellies before heading back to the airport for our evening flight home. 

We are back at our home-sweet-hotel, and the rain continues even in California!  Breck was boarded for the first time ever (he has always stayed with family and friends) and from what I was told when I picked him up, he had a great time.  He doesn't seem too emotional or scarred, so I am assuming it was good for him...kind of like Summer camp!  In addition, it was Breck's big graduation too!  His last obedience class and graduation ceremony was on the same Saturday as Todd's and the person we boarded him with was also his trainer.  They said he was the best behaved dog at the conclusion of his 2 month course, and he has now earned $60 in gift cards to the high end dog boutique!  Todd loves anything free, so thank you Breck for making him think the class was worth-while! 

We only returned two days ago, but our trip already feels like such a distant memory!  We are crossing our fingers for sun this weekend so that we can partake in the California Starwberry Festival on Saturday!