Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The mass of humanity that is NYC

Well we did it. We tackled the Big Apple. And with three little people in tow! All I have to say is WOW !... wow at how many people can fit on a sidewalk ... wow at building-tall ads and flashing monitors at Time Square ... and Wow at how a city of that size can function at all!

We had a lot of fun, despite some cranky kids, fit throwing, and chilly weather. We were there for only 5-6 hours, but felt like we saw some of the 'main stuff' in the area around Grand Central Terminal.

We trained in to the city, which Wes and Kate thought was awesome! They kept saying, "are we on Thomas?" Thankfully we went 'after peak' hours on the way in, and so there was plenty of space to sprawl out with our cookies and oranges.

Grand Central Terminal is hosting a light show for the next few weeks so as you walk into the main portion (the one you see on posters and postcards), a light show dances on the walls and ceiling every 10 minutes or so. It was pretty cool.

I had printed off a small map from a website, so with it in hand, we took to the streets.

We saw the Empire State Building and Matt said, "it looks shorter in real life." It costs something like $20 to go to the observation deck, so we moved on to some more areas just to browse at the visual buffet of buildings/sites before us.

We went to Rockefeller Center where the famed Christmas Tree is, to which Matt replied, "I thought it would be taller." This trend continued throughout the day, and I agreed that we must make things bigger in our minds than perhaps they appear in real life.

Here's the tree in the distance.

Here's another view of the tree behind the flags, and below is the ice rink (once again, a little smaller in real life, but nonetheless really fun-looking). Throngs and throngs of people were gathered and it was a spot where Wes had a melt down and didn't want to proceed any farther. But there were so many people around, I didn't feel totally embarrassed - most didn't even know we existed. It was so great!

Down the way from the tree is the NBC Studio 1A where the Today Show is shot ... don't know why I didn't get a picture, but once again, camera work on TV makes the area where everyone's standing and waving at their families at home, look a lot bigger. It was pretty cool. They had an NBC store (we didn't dare go in, too many little items for little fingers to snatch).

Down the way again, is one of the entrances to Radio City Music Hall.

We walked past Carnegie Hall (no photo), and into Central Park where I'm sure we only started to scratch the slightest scratch of the surface of how big it is. But it had fun play areas for children - so Matt and the twins played for a while, while Sophie and I hung out and watched everyone. (once again no pictures, I don't know what I was thinking).

By this time we'd gone as far north as we wanted to that day so we exited the park and started down 7th street. Soon we could see the Toshiba Megatron with the 2009 on top, all ready for the big party - the ball wasn't up yet; And this is where I started to be in awe of Time Square! WOW! It was pretty cool. And I can't reiterate again, how many hundreds, upon thousands, upon millions and trillions of people were there! All the while we were pushing our way through the masses with our double stroller :).

Okay, so in this picture there doesn't seem to be a soul around us .. which is totally not true, we just have a magic camera that removes the people... I guess. Maybe it's my imagination about how many people were there (just like how everything looks smaller in real life), but there were truly some intersections where I just plowed through (at a snail's pace) and apologized the whole way for bumping into people and rolling over their toes with the stroller.

I didn't know there was such a thing as an "M&M Store" but there is, and it was Wes and Kate's favorite attraction. We didn't go in, but they sure had plenty to look at from the outside.

So that was basically it. Next time we may be a little more daring and actually go inside some places, but we treated this as our trial run. Since we live relatively close, we're going to try to go at least a couple more times in the coming 8 months. And maybe once without the little ones ... we'll see.

Just for good measure I add this last photo of the girls in their Christmas Dresses ... for documentation's sake :).

They're our little beauties! (Handsome Jack was napping peacefully and thus, wasn't photographed.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Fun

We really had a nice Christmas and have reflected on our families a lot. We're just so glad to have so many great people we're related to!

Each night this week Matt has read us a Christmas story before scripture time and I think the kids like it so much we'll have to continue with it every night.

Church was canceled on Sunday because of the snow, so we decided to go to one of the Episcopalian churches in the older section of town on Christmas Eve. I'd seen in our town circular that they were having a children's nativity program at 4:30. So we got all dressed up and hiked out in the rain to the program. I had a bad feeling about it when we realized it actually started at 5 p.m. (an extra 30 minutes of trying to make everyone sit still is never a promising start to anything). We took our seats and a nice gentleman brought crayons and a book for the kids. The thing about this church was that the pews were not cushioned and so they were noisier than normal and the church was big and open and hollow, accentuating our noisy brood. We had quite a few interested looks in our direction since we were the only family with three little ones so close together in age. But it was a nice program.

At the end Matt took the twins up to the front where everyone was hanging foil stars on a fishing string pulley that was rigged up to the star of Bethlehem. After they'd hung their stars Kate didn't want to come back to sit with us, she wanted to stay with the children at the manger scene. Matt tried to persuade her but ended up hauling her out kicking and screaming, "I want my mommy!!!" ... yep we make good impressions ;). The service was interesting.

We came home had a late dinner and went to bed.

Then Christmas morning Matt and I realized our kids were totally spoiled this year by family! We even withheld a couple of presents we'd bought and will save them for Sophie in a couple of years. :) Thanks to everyone who sent things! We had a blast!

We've loved having Dad home from work for a couple of days! And even though our NYC trip has been postponed at least 3 times, we're pretty sure it's on the docket for next week .. plus we can't wait for Aunt Bonnie's arrival next week too! Imagine ... New Year's Eve in NYC for her ... definitely a journal entry;).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gingerbread House Night

We were invited to some friends' house tonight to make gingerbread houses. We were all prepared ... the gingerbread made, the candy bought, the decorating bags and tips ready, Matt had even cut out the front, back, sides, and roof of the house to make it correct, from an engineer's stand-point. Then Sophie's nose started gooping up and running like crazy. Her cheeks turned rosy. And I awoke this morning with a sinus head cold. :( So I called our friend and told her we wouldn't be coming to contaminate her home, family, and especially her 5 week old baby. We were so disappointed! But decided to have our own gingerbread house night at home.

Here's the construction.

And here's the finished product. It was so fun. And the first gingerbread house we've done together, in our almost 9 years of marriage!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I've been tagged!

I've seen this on quite a few of my friends/family's blogs and was just tagged ... so here goes!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper

2. Real tree or Artificial? Grew up with artificial, but now am a 'real' convert.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually get it the first FHE night in December.

4. When do you take the tree down? New Years Day, or soon thereafter.

5. Do you like eggnog? unfortunately YES.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Raggedy Ann doll my mom had made.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Matt ... it's agony every year!

8. Easiest person to buy for? The little ones.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a couple of them.

10. Best Christmas gift you ever received? Can't choose just one.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Don't think I've ever received one.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie (s)? Miracle on 34th Street (new version), White Christmas.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Eggnog ... uh oh.

16. Lights on the tree? Yes, red and green.

17. Favorite Christmas song? All of them.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Usually travel, except for this year.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Bow.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Wanting to find that really great gift for Matt, but never accomplishing it ... buyers remorse abounds.

23. Favorite for Christmas dinner? basically a Thanksgiving repeat.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? Clothes, lotion, an easy way to loose 30-lbs without trying, and books.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Heidi

My sister's birthday is today and I've just got to acknowledge it somewhere. She's serving a mission with her husband and family in the Buenos Aires North Mission in Argentina. And with that being the case, I can't (well I guess I could) call her and sing Happy Birthday to her (at least not as freely as before).

I can't express how much I miss her. Not being able to call her a couple times a week has really been a lot harder on me than I realized it would be. The last couple of weeks especially, I've deeply missed that luxury of nearly-instant contact. I want to ask her parenting questions, gospel questions, how-she-makes-her-beef-enchilada-casserole-so-good questions, how she manages her time questions (or at least how she did it with toddlers). To me, she is the 'ultimate' in everything. I admire her, I love her, and I'm so missing my best friend right now!

She and her family are having the time of their lives. They're learning, growing, exploring, and experiencing something truly incredible, and they're making a difference! Her emails are on a different plane than my life, for sure, but I'm so happy to experience what they're experiencing, via email.

They're 1 1/2 years into their 3 year service, and although they're certainly not counting down the time, I have to admit that I look forward to having those bi-weekly phone calls and visits again.

Happy Birthday Heidi! You're the best hermana anyone could be blessed with (or as she would correctly say ... with which anyone could be blessed). I love you!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cooker Chef K*

I don't know where she got it, but K lately has begun to call herself different names like, Dr. K*, and then she checks your vital signs. But she's also started to announce that 'Cooker Chef K* is coming into the room.' She will always help me when cooking, and it's become great fun! She dons her apron that her Great Aunt Karen gave her for Christmas last year, and away she goes ... cracking eggs, stiring pots, and dumping the flour.

Yesterday I made our first batch of toffee for the holidays, and yes, there was K in the middle of it all. So here are her photos to document the event.

What a child! I love her!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving and Birthdays

I get so wrapped up in looking at other people's blogs that I don't take the time to update ours. But I figure Thanksgiving and W and K's birthday should not be missed. Plus I'll add a few other treats.

We spent a quiet Thanksgiving at home. The fun thing about it was that it happened to land on the twins 3rd birthday. This does create somewhat of a problem for them though ... is it Thanksgiving? or is it our birthday? So now K just thinks everyday is her birthday. We hope they won't expect to open presents every Thanksgiving:).

Many of you know that M is quite the cooker (K's word for chef ... "Mom, you're such a great cooker!" she says - so cute), and so I had plenty 'o help for the feast. He took on the stuffing (made in a dutch oven, of course), the potatoes and gravy, the pies, and the veggie tray. I took on the turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad, rolls and the traditional family grape fizzy drink. What a feast for a small family! We loved every bit of it ... and still are? (at what point should you just say - enough of the left overs ... although they're tasty, are they still healthy?)

S loved the pumpkin pie. We posted the 'cleanest of the pictures', because she's just so darn cute!

After a short nap we figured we'd turn our attention to birthdays. We found/remembered that it's hard to show people you're 3. But as long as you have two hands, you can get that ring finger to stay up and keep the pinky down!

Then came the present opening.

We spent a good chunk of the afternoon/evening playing with our toys and found they were very interchangeable. W would play with the doll and K with the blocks - who knew? Then they'd trade back ... could it get any more perfect?

All in all it was a great day. We were able to spend some down time together, and although we missed our extended families, we were able to talk to them on the phone, and have a low-key holiday.

Here are some other random pictures over the last few days/weeks as well.

Playgroup at our house where we made turkey hats.

W just so tired that he falls asleep mid-snack time.

Beautiful S, just fresh from a bath.

W and K playing with the Legos that came for their birthday from Grandma and Papa! They love 'em!