Friday, September 28, 2018

Five things on Friday

1. Isaac loves to be soft to Momma (like this picture).  Sometimes when I'm setting him down for a nap, I'll scoot him into his little tent, and he'll climb back out "one more time soft". 

2. I sat outside this afternoon while he napped and worked on a sample for our Art of the Month Club project, and it was just lovely. (We open the windows and cool our house down in the evenings, but these days, it's cool enough all day that the chill kind of sticks around, so the warm sun in the afternoon feels just perfect!)

3. I turn on some kids music most days while we're eating lunch (Hap Palmer on Pandora). And while the boys eat, I'll sing along "If you're happy and you know it..." or "Row, row, row your boat" and do whatever little dance goes along with the songs. And Isaac often climbs off his stool (sometimes Porter too) to join in. And lunch takes a minute or two longer and it's such a happy little time before Porter goes to kindergarten.

4. I listened to a conversation with Shannan Martin this afternoon while I was working on my project out here (I love her!) And I kept thinking 'I bet she'll be quoted in conference next weekend' :) (Maybe not, but I feel like her thoughts have helped me better understand how I should be ministering)

5. Today, our house has been quiet. Yesterday, we had a steady stream of visitors coming and going from morning till bedtime. And it was a happily full, busy kind of day. Play dates and babysitting and rides home and quick stops in and out and dinner with Jen's family and my Mom... (Also, I was grateful I took the 5 minutes first thing in the morning to clean the kids bathroom ;)

NYC March 2018

As we prepped for our trip to New York in March, we looked through pictures of our past trips and wrote a list on a big poster board of all of our favorite things that we'd like to do again, or new things we'd like to try that we hadn't done before. And it was a pretty comprehensive list!  Jordan was leaving LostMyName (Wonderbly) and beginning work for Teachers Pay Teachers and decided to take a week off in between so that our whole family could explore together in New York.

In the past, we'd usually fly out on the weekend and do something fun Saturday then have Sunday together before Jordan started his work week. Then I'd take things slow with the kids during the week enjoying the neighborhood we were staying in and taking a few little adventures out as well (while Jordan worked and often met up with friends/coworkers for the evenings.)

So this was our longest time for our whole family to spend time together in New York, and we were amazed at all the things we got to check off our giant list! And it was so fun because it had been long enough since we'd been that everything was pretty new and exciting for the kids, and it was so fun to experience the newness with them.

I'll put up two little videos I made, and here are a few (ha! I had more to say than I thought) several highlights:

NYC 2018 Preview (1 minute) (Whoops! We went in March, not April :)

NYC 2018 Video (4 minutes)

+ We stayed in Brooklyn for the first time and it was fun to have that new feel. Our apartment was a great old brownstone with fancy woodwork,  creaky floors,  and doors and cupboards that didn't quite close all the way anymore. The kids made the top floor into a Lego Headquarters and we had plenty of space to spread out (though our kids aren't use to living with neighbors who share walls so it was sometimes a little tricky to be quiet!)

+ Probably my favorite part of the trip was having dinner with a friend of Jordan's and their family who invited us over one evening. We ate lasagna and salad and cherry pie and played Settlers of Cataan while our little boys ran and tumbled and played swords together.

+ A favorite new thing was visiting the New York Public Library. I read somewhere before our trip that the famous lions in front were named Patience and Fortitude, and I used that little fact to encourage the kids during our trip when we hit some rougher traveling moments. :) (Fun thing - I was telling one of the kids about the lions' names and a man walking by stopped and turned around -"what did you say they're called? Huh! I've lived here all my life and never knew!) The library was just beautiful inside and out, and they had the sweetest children's area that was so peaceful and welcoming (especially at the end of a long day)!

+ The Sunday we went to church in Brooklyn, they happened to be having a missionary day with a few people sharing their experiences in joining the church and then a big lunch gathering afterward   instead of classes. It was fun to meet some new families and have that extra time to visit too.

+ Landon had some little legos that he got at the Lego store by the Rockefeller Center and he had them out playing with Porter and Owen on every subway ride through the week. Other subway fun: playing little mind games like spelling words using the portuguese alphabet and someone else guessing the word. Or saying three numbers and the other person has to connect them with math problems somehow... And, nobody got lost riding the subway - phewph!

+ But, we did lose Isaac once and it was a few minutes of awful panic. We were all watching the Sea Lion show at the Central Park Zoo and sometime while we all became focused on the animals, Isaac wandered off! About the time the show ended, I looked around and couldn't find him and we all went frantically searching for him through the crowds till one of the kids (I think?) found him wandering happily nearby (as I was telling a worker 'I've lost my toddler!'). Whoosh. That was sure an awful feeling.

Looks lovely now...
+ We had a 'Nor'easter' threaten our flight out when we were leaving, and another hit while we were there. When a neighbor came to knock on our door that morning and ask what our children were doing on the stairs "are they just running laps up and down or something?!" we decided we better brave the weather rather than stay cooped up for the day. We traveled through a little (lovely) snow and visited the American Museum of Natural History and enjoyed a fun day there. By the time we were traveling home though, it was a snowy, slushy, soggy mess. And the buses weren't keeping to their regular stops. And we had no slushy/snowy/soggy protection for our feet as we walked through the icy wet slush up past our ankles. We were a pretty miserable bunch. The kids definitely beat me in their patience and fortitude on that long walk. (Oh they were troopers! And oh it was hard!)

+ Lots of other things:

We visited...

Times Square (late at night with bright lights and sleepy-silly kiddos) and M&M world

The Manhattan temple + ward building for church on Sunday. I love the music in Sacrament meeting in that Manhattan ward - it is always amazing, every time we visit!

Central Park and the Central Park Zoo

The Brooklyn Bridge

Top of the Rock with incredible views of the city

Brooklyn Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Library. We made these stops on the way to dinner one evening, so they were a little quick.

The Lego Store (twice? three times? Enough to really feel like I knew the place -- I can tell you where to find the nearest bathroom...)

The Big Piano (now at Macy's since FAO Schwarz closed -- not quite so magical anymore, but now we know :)

Teachers Pay Teachers,  where we got to meet a lot of the people Jordan would be working with and get a tour of the offices. I was super impressed with their authentic teacher-focus. There was very much a feel of 'what can we do to make life easier and better for teachers?' (And Jordan has continued to find that to be true as he's worked there for the last 6 months or so.) And they had little swag bags for all of us which the kids thought were fabulous!

The Liberty Science Center - a favorite place to visit in New Jersey from past trips. Two new things on this visit were the cool wall of tubes/vaccuums to play with balls in, and a fun exhibit about wind and skyscrapers.

The new One World Trade Center.

Union Square Park

J. Owen Grundy Park. This is a little picnic/stage area that I'd visit in New Jersey when we stayed there a few times. It was a great place for Landon and Ellie to run around and climb a little (and was either in walking distance or just a light rail ride away).  It's a great little spot and it has a fantastic view of the lower Manhattan skyline.

We walked and we rode...


Uber, but no taxis! That was a change since our last trip!

Lots of subways

Escalators :) (We don't see these much in everyday life, so they kids always think they're fun when we're traveling!)


Light Rails

Ferries and a super fast water Taxi

Staten Island Ferry (this was new for us -- very fun and a great way to see the Statue of Liberty)

and strollers too :) (Isaac, and Porter sometimes)

We ate...
image here
Some delicious chicken and rice from the Halal Guys. This was just street cart food, but I'm still daydreaming about going back and trying it again.

Pringles (Ha! Jordan got these for the kids one day when we were out and about, and the kids thought they were so great that I think they each bought themselves a can at some point in our trip!)

Fun dinner and dessert at Max Brenners.
Leftover pizza another night for dinner :)
Ridiculously priced kfc on our first night (delivered by GrubHub, almost Jordan's next employment!)

Chicken and Wafffles.  Several people from TPT live in Brooklyn, so we asked for restaurant recommendations, and this was one "A very Brooklyn thing to do is go for chicken and waffles. Our favorite place is Sweet Chick" Sounds great, right? We ended up stopping there for dinner on our way home on the crazy slushy wet night. So by the time we got there, there weren't really any other options. We were frozen through and we really didn't have the stamina left to venture any further. And it was fine. But it was like - a waffle, and a piece of fried chicken for $17. (And we were feeding 7 of us!) There's this saying about how New Yorkers will talk about the crazy price of real estate, but never the crazy price of food, but sometimes there are crazy prices for food! 

Bites of lots of things shared from Amy's Bread (another place I'm excited to visit again - this may be my favorite place I've eaten in New York!)

Oatmeal and Cereal and cheese roll ups and sandwiches in our little kitchen at our Brooklyn airbnb.

Pretzels and hot dogs and candied nuts from street carts

If we went back to this spot, I'm pretty sure I could find that most delicious cookie bakery...

The best peanut butter cookie filled with chocolate fudge inside from a bakery near Central Park. (I can't remember the bakery, though I've tried because I want to find a recipe for these!)

At the shake shack and a yummy salad place nearby.

pre-lunch fun at the Science Center

Some yummy pizza (plus cheeseburger pizza to try) at the Liberty Science Center.

Some fancy pizza (including one with guacomole!) at a pizza place by the Brooklyn Bridge. (And some crazily priced ice cream nearby... I can't help it, I guess I'll never be a true New Yorker. Ice cream shouldn't cost that much!)

And that's a wrap! I flew home with the kids (and the airline check in woman was so super nice and gave me an extra seat for Isaac so we could have two whole rows to ourselves, which meant Isaac got a great nap and we all had a pleasant flight!  Jordan stayed and worked his first week at TPT and had a great time getting to know people a little better. And he'll soon be off for another visit!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Through the summer, our neighbor Paul has been working on building a big rock waterfall feature in their front yard. When he first got started moving some of the giant rocks into place, Jordan went over for an afternoon to help. This of course led to all the little boys going over to 'help'.  At some point, Isaac was handed a little half-size shovel and he knew he was really a part of this job. For the rest of the summer, every time he'd see Paul out working, he'd be quick to run over and join in. 

They've finished the waterfall, but we still always know where to look first for Isaac.  "Helping!" he'll tell me emphatically each time I walk him back to our house (almost every day).  Yesterday we'd just gotten home and were prepping to leave again in a minute which turned into more than a minute before we realized with a moment of panic 'where's Isaac?' Of course he was over helping, and enjoying a popsicle with his favorite next door neighbors. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Soccer Time

This weekend while Jordan and Landon were at Bike the Bear, the rest of us had some Saturday morning soccer games. Usually Jordan will stay home with the kids while I get to to watch and cheer for our boys. For Owen's game, Isaac surprised me by being super excited to just sit on the blanket with Porter and Ellie and cheer "Yay Owen!" "Good job Owen!" By Porter's game, he was ready to run and play so we all took turns following him around and watching him on the playground.

Owen was disappointed this season that none of his friends from other seasons were on his team. After the first practice, he was ready to be done. But after the first quarter of his first game, he remembered how much he liked soccer -- "I wish I could play every quarter for two whole games in a row!" 

This is Porter's first time playing on a team and he's having a lot of fun too. And the boys both go over to join with a  friend's team over at the park whenever they have practices. This is a fun season!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Bike the Bear

Landon has been biking and biking the last few weeks as he has worked on completing his training rides for his cycling merit badge and prepared for Bike the Bear. And this Saturday, he and Jordan completed the race! And Landon did just so super! When they got home, Jordan pulled up a map and talked us through the route and how it all went. It was so fun to hear all the details (I remember loving to hear my good friend Andrea's post-race thoughts after her marathons -- something about it was so inspiring, and maybe just a little fun to get a little thrill of the marathon without actually running it :) And it was fun for him to get to tell all the other kids about his hard work and have everyone celebrate with him.

Jordan was just amazed at all the times when they'd get to a point where Landon felt like he just couldn't keep going... and then he'd somehow get a burst of energy and race ahead again.

It has been a fun few weeks cheering for Landon and seeing him working so hard.  Yay Landon! (And hooray for Jordan riding with him on all these rides, and cheering him along too!)