Ending an Amazing 2013 on Memory Lane in Syracuse

The year 2013 was a good one for me. While saying goodbye to my Kona broke my heart, my business did well and I published my first book. I launched All Things Left-Handed and Simple Giving Lab.

I learned a lot and met some amazing bloggers, entrepreneurs and nonprofit rockstars in real life and online. I traveled to Orlando for Be the Change, to Chicago for BlogHer and to New York for the Social Good Summit. I even had my own writer’s retreat and went off the grid for a week with my family.

I was fortunate enough to have my writing featured on several websites this year. In my GOOD.is article on how I was shopping with a conscience for the holidays, I mentioned the idea of giving the gift of an experience. My husband and I decided to surprise our boys with a trip to Syracuse University to see a basketball game on New Year’s Eve. They were super excited, especially G, since we’ve been telling them that we’d take them to a game once they were old enough.

Syracuse is a special place to us because it’s where my husband and I met freshman year. It’s also where we were married. To say that we have memories there is a huge understatement. And it was incredibly special for us to share the city and school where we fell in love with our children.

After a long drive from Maine, we were met by frigid temperatures, gray skies and large snowflakes. The boys got to experience a typical Syracuse day, where you weren’t sure if it was snowing up or down.

Crouse College, Syracuse University

Crouse College, which houses the music program, is my favorite building on campus.

We pointed out our favorite spots on campus, the places we used to live and  and the spot (now a bank) where we went on our first date. We told them about the many stairs we had to climb to get to our dorm when we were freshman, and the secret underground tunnels we used to get to the dining hall.

There's a very new dorm in front of the old rundown dorm we lived in sophomore year.

Where we used to live at SU. There’s a very new dorm in front of the old dorm we lived in sophomore year. We climbed many stairs to get to “the mount” freshman year. Luckily we only had to live in the gross basement apartment after a semester in London. Toad Hall wasn’t pretty, but the location was great.

We noted all the different colleges on campus and which ones we spent the most time in. At one point, the boys even got to see one of Syracuse’s black squirrels.

Newhouse School for Public Communications

Both Matt and I have degrees from SI Newhouse School for Public Communications. I spent a lot of time in these buildings. (The older ones at least. The glass building is new).

The boys learned that we weren’t exaggerating when we said we always had to walk uphill anytime we went somewhere on campus, and that the wind was always blowing in your face.

Biz learned to walk backwards to avoid the bone chilling wind and snow in his face.

Biz learned to walk backwards to avoid the bone chilling wind and snow in his face while walking to the Carrier Dome.

It was so cold we decided to head to the Carrier Dome early. I almost got sick taking this photo (due to my fear of heights), but it was a pretty cool view of the inside of the dome.

carrier dome

This panoramic photo of the Carrier Dome was taken with my iPhone.

We got to see the number two team in the country in their pre-game practice, and G got to take some photos with his new camera during the game.

G was really excited to get so close to the Orange and to take pictures around the dome.

G was really excited to get so close to the Orange and to take pictures around the dome.

Biz got bored and took a selfie on my phone.

Biz can't help but make faces when he sees himself.

Biz can’t help but make faces when he sees himself.

We let him run around during halftime to get his “energies” out.

runninghalftimeWhile the Orange won the game, they did not score 75 points, which meant no free tacos. Biz was disappointed, as I think his favorite part was cheering for tacos during the last couple of minutes. It reminded me of my college days when I didn’t mind (and even enjoyed!) eating at Taco Bell.

Outside the dome, we showed the boys how to do the “freshman stomp.” We then headed over to the quad and attempted to get into Hendricks Chapel, where Matt and I were married 13 years ago (it was locked). The boys heard the fight song being played by the Crouse College bells.

Hendricks Chapel, Syracuse

Matt and I were married at Hendricks Chapel, right on the SU campus, in 2000.

Only a Maine kid would  run through the “snownadoes” being formed with that wicked cold wind.


Biz running through a “snownado”

We ate dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse – in the trolley no less! – where our wedding rehearsal dinner was held. And, of course, we visited the carousel at Destiny USA, which was the Carousel Mall when we lived in Syracuse.

The famous carousel at Destiny USA (formerly Carousel Mall).

The famous carousel at Destiny USA (formerly Carousel Mall).

On New Year’s Day, we went back to campus to take the photo that every family takes when they first visit Syracuse. Sadly, there wasn’t anyone else around to take one of the entire family together.

Hall of Languages

The beautiful Hall of Languages houses the College of Arts & Sciences (the other college I went to). It’s also the perfect place to take a photo.

It was a wonderful way to end 2013. The boys had fun, and Matt and I felt like we were home again. Just for a moment. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll be home to my kids one day too.

G and Biz in their new Syracuse Orange gear.

G and Biz in their new Syracuse Orange gear.

How was your 2013?

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  1. What an awesome way to end the year! It must be so much fun to bring your sons to all these places that hold so many memories for you and Matt.
    Bev recently posted..Finding Balance in 2014 + A Makeover for Linkouture!My Profile

  2. Looked like the perfect way to end the year and begin 2014. Loved hearing of all your memories and even though I stayed local on Long Island, truly brought back some of my own college memories reading yours :)
    Janine Huldie recently posted..The PINcentive Blog Hop: Week 17My Profile

  3. What a great trip down memory lane! Love that you ushered in the New Year with lots of memories from years gone by. My husband and I got married in the chapel at Virginia Tech, and we love taking our girls back to visit all of our favorite spots on campus. We’re hoping to get up for a basketball game this winter.
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..TrailHeads Goodbye Girl Running Top Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  4. The Carrier Dome looks amazing. Looks like a good time was had by all. So glad that you posted this as I was wanting to hear about your trip.
    Susan Zutautas recently posted..Sausage Kale SoupMy Profile

  5. You’ve had a great year! What fun trip down memory lane!! We brought our kids to see the college where we met this year too, over the summer. I’ve always felt like it was too far and I didn’t want my kids to go there, but it definitely hit the radar with my youngest. Lots of good memories there though.
    Michelle recently posted..2013 Top Posts: A Few SurprisesMy Profile

  6. That was a really fun way to spend New Year’s Eve! You and your husband inspire me. I wish my hubs and I would think to do more fun things like that. Of course, it will probably be easier in a few years when the kids are a little older and more interested in events and outings like that. I can’t wait. On a very interesting note, we have yet another weird thing in common… Jeff and I also got married in the chapel on my college campus!
    Alexa recently posted..Free is Fun! #JollyVoxBox2013My Profile

    • We love to travel and go on adventures, so we’ve made sure to plan trips that train our kids to want to travel with us! We’ve been waiting for a while to bring them to SU. This was the first year we felt they could handle it. Luckily there was a big area for Biz to run around during halftime. :)

      And that’s so cool that you and Jeff were married on campus as well!
      anotherjennifer recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Merry Christmas!My Profile

  7. SOOOOOOOOOOO FUN to read all about your school and how you guys met and married!!! What an amazing history you both have, and to be able to share it with the boys? Priceless!!!
    Chris Carter recently posted..Devotional Diary: Building My Fortress of FaithMy Profile

  8. What an amazing year! I love getting experiences as gifts. It’s been great getting to know you through MOAM
    Melissa @ Completely Eclipsed recently posted..Recently on Parent SocietyMy Profile

  9. That sounds like a really awesome trip for you and your family. it must have been especially nostalgic for you and your hubby :) Glad you guys had a blast! Have a great one! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted..Finding Purpose in 2014My Profile

  10. Glad you didn’t get sick taking the shot, because it’s awesome! Heights are one of the few things I have no fears about. Trust me – I have others.
    And I remember seeing black squirrels up in Canada and even a few fat ones at my in-laws’ house! They hate them because they’re quite pesky but I still like to think it’s good luck to see one.
    Tamara recently posted..When Will My Life Begin?My Profile

    • That shot was tough because I get dizzy when I’m up high and my legs start to feel numb. When my kids were standing next to the railing, I got this terrible feeling that they will fall. It just sucks. I plastered myself to the wall and then sat myself down on a bleacher to take the pic. Freaked me out! Usually Matt has to help me walk up high like that. I almost got sick in the glass elevator at Destiny USA!

      And I had never seen black squirrels until I went to Syracuse. They are very weird, but it was fun to point one out to the boys!

  11. “The Hill”! Was Sutters around when you were there. I remember getting into that place when I was 16!

    I had to laugh…”After a long drive from Maine, we were met by frigid temperatures, gray skies and large snowflakes”. As my husband says, “We’re hit with the wall of gloom every time we enter Syracuse. You can see it from miles away!”.

    I’m so glad you made it back to the ‘Cuse. Did you know that the Carousel at Destiny was the original Carousel that was taken out of Onondaga Lake after the big tornado hit the amusement park years ago? I’m not sure if all of it is original and restored, but I do believe that is the restored Carousel.

    Of course I could go on and on about your post, but oist importantly I’m so glad that your boys we’re able to see “where it all started”.
    Michelle recently posted..RedirectMy Profile

    • I don’t remember a Sutters. Maggie’s (closed now) was the place for underage drinking when I was there. Or so I was told.

      I always knew when I was getting closer to Syracuse when the sky started to darken.

      And I actually took a picture of one of the original horses from the carousel and the history behind it. Very cool!

      Too bad we weren’t in the area at the same time!
      anotherjennifer recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Frozen DropletMy Profile

  12. What a wonderful and meaningful trip for you guys!! I now work at the university that I attended, so my kids are here all the time, but I don’t think it makes them love it any less. They squeal with delight when they see the mascot pictured around town. My oldest says this is where she’s going to go to school, and that would make me very proud!
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted..Silly Family TraditionsMy Profile

  13. That’s so awesome you guys all got to visit where you met and were married! And where is this book you wrote?! I want to add it to my reading list.
    Ashlee recently posted..FocusT25 Gamma – Week 1My Profile


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