Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shepherds' Conference and New York

It was Tuesday, a day before Shepherds' Conference was about to begin when my husband dropped a huge bomb on me! You see, we have a trip planned in early April to take our kids to New York. It all started with my dad desiring to take Drew to Washington D.C. We figured, with one airfare taken care of, why don't the three of us go to New York and have Drew take a train over to us when his D.C. trip concludes. This plan was going along all well and good, until Rich announced that his work was sending him to New York on business - and that he was scheduled to fly out just 3 days after we were scheduled to return! What are the odds? He has never been sent anywhere east of Texas on business...and the timing! This sparked the benign idea to extend our trip... So, after a little thought, we decided to stay a couple of more days in New York, then go visit Philadelphia for a couple days, then return to New York for Rich's business portion. While this sounded simple enough to me, I had another thing coming!

So, smack dab in the middle of a much coveted rest period I had during the conference, I had to go down to Burbank airport to change all our tickets. Since we already had our paper tickets, this was the only way United could deal with it. Don't ask me why they want to tie up two out of three of their agents for 1 hour to work out my new itinerary when one person could have done it over the phone much quicker. Whatever.... it's done.

So, now I had to move onto the hotel. Wouldn't you know our the hotel we had our reservations at had no rooms available to extend our stay for two more days (well, OK they did, but it would have been $750/night - no thanks). So, I spent an entire morning researching new hotels. I am very meticulous - comparing all my travel books and extensively reading online reviews. So, just when I had it narrowed down to four choices and sent an email to my Aunt (my travel agent), and just when she had emailed me back with my reservation, Drew busted into the room and enthusiastically declared, "The Dempseys are going to be in New York at the same time as us!!!" The Dempseys are longtime dear friends of ours, and their kids are some of our kids' best friends. So, I immediately called Kari and confirmed this was indeed true. Isn't that so random...first, Rich on business and now the Dempseys - all at the same time. It didn't take us long to decide that it would be convenient and fun to stay at the same hotel as them. So, we changed our reservation AGAIN. The kids are extremely ecstatic - it will be so fun to tour around with them and everyone knows when you are with the Dempseys there are always PERKS. Rick works for Disney and will be securing us some pretty sweet theater tickets to the Little Mermaid, as well as getting us tickets to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert that just happens to be in town on the Sunday night we are there. So the WOW factor on an already exciting adventure went way up! Today I finally concluded the Pennsylvania portion, renting our car from NYC (it wasn't easy - get the car at our hotel and return to the airport) and securing our hotel there. We are excited to see the Liberty Bell, Gettysburg, and the historic city in general. We even plan to hit New Jersey on the way for breakfast, taking a recommendation from Guy Fieri and our favorite show of his, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Rich is so into that show, I think he would drive hundreds of miles just to eat at one of Guy's spots.

So, what still remains before we go is the overwhelming task of laying down some more meal choices for New York. I realize most people would just play it by ear, but we foodies live a lot differently. It's actually very stressful!! (I know, get a REAL problem, you're thinking.) We do have reservations for two dinners, but there are still 3 more, plus plans for breakfasts and lunches. New York has thousands of restaurants, and it is so difficult to choose. We really enjoy the classic, quintessential spots in a city like this and it takes a lot of legwork to narrow it down. We still also need to lay out a logical itinerary, but my husband is a genius and I know he will work it all out for us. Tune in next month to see us live blogging daily (hopefully) from NY!

Back to the Shepherds' Conference...if I could sum it all up in one word it would be BLESSING.
It was a BLESSING to have such wonderful men stay with us and to serve them. It was a BLESSING to volunteer at the conference - especially with Drew and Emma. What an incredible joy it is to see your children sincerely enjoy serving. Emma worked very hard in food services from 12-9 every day, as well as working the registration Wednesday morning. Watching her interact so graciously with people made me realize what a special young lady she is becoming. Drew also had a shift everyday in the bookstore. After working around the books, he asked if we would allow him to purchase some. What kind of a question is that? CARTE BLANCHE KID!! So, it was a joy to see him select three great books to challenge him spritually. At the end of the conference, we were all worn out but also sad to see it end. I equate it to the way you feel after a long day at Disneyland - you're sorry to go but your puppies are screaming! In the end, the biggest blessing was remembering that we get to attend Grace Church every Sunday! How amazing is that?

1 comment:

Myra said...

That sounds so exciting! I'm sure Emma will do a good job of documenting the trip. In fact, with as many great photos as Emma will take on a trip like that, you'd better buy her a suitcase full of SD cards!!!