Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Crystal Brook Resort (June 29th-30th)

New York State Trip Stop #2

So after 5 hot hot days in NYC and LI we decided to travel north a bit to the Catskill Mountains. My aunt had told us about a German Resort, the that her in-laws have gone to since her husband was a child called the Crystal Brook. It was so peaceful and quiet. There were not even phones in the rooms and the furniture hadn't been updated since it opened. But it was absolutely wonderful; to kick back, chill, relax and rest in the beauty of the mountains that God had created. (Especially, after all the hussle and bussle of being in the city) We all played shuffle board, the boys and David played Ping-Pong , swung on the swings, swam in a very cold pool for a few minutes, walked in the woods, threw stones in the creek, smelled the flowers, put our feet in the grass, read books, and enjoyed wonderful food!

and then the trip continues onto Cortland.........

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New York City (June 25th- June 29th)

New York City and Long Island....

We have a very busy summer and it started with a trip to New York City. On June 25th we piled in the van and my parents got in their car and we were off to head North. We made great time up until we got to the Lincoln Tunnel. We left home and 10 1/2 hours later we were at the Lincoln Tunnel; Approx. 700 miles in 10 1/2 hours which is too bad considering there were 2 cars, 4 adults, and 3 kids with the youngest celebrating her 2nd birthday. What away to have my daughter celebrate her 2nd birthday; a long, long car ride. Everyone did great. Unfortunately, the timing wasn't so good; as we arrived at the Lincoln Tunnel at 4:30 pm on a Friday afternoon. It was then 3 1/2 hours later that we arrived at our hotel- and it was only 15 miles away.

We were all glad to be out of the car by that time and begin a fun filled 4 days in the Big Apple. So what is one thing to do in New York.... eat dinner late at a Diner. So that is what we did. We enjoyed a great dinner where everyone was stuffed full. We sang happy birthday to Sara as she blew out her candles on a bowl of ice cream; she was thrilled because she can really care less about cake but loves ice cream. (however, I forgot the camera.) And then we headed back to the hotel to get a much needed nights rest as Saturday was set to be busy.

Saturday morning we got up, had breakfast at the hotel and got in the van. My parents had a wedding to attend so the 5 of us were off for a day to sight see. After David's great driving through Manhattan on a Friday night he decided that it can be any worse on a Saturday so instead of taking the subway as we had planned we drove into Battery Park. We had tickets for the Statue of Liberty at 9 am so that was our first stop. David and the kids had never been and I hadn't been in 20 something years. Going over to lady Liberty was an adventure to say the least. I am very grateful for security; however, Sara was not at all excited about the fact that they insisted on her going through the security screeners solo. It became rather amusing as the security guards thought she would walk through to them and wait for us; no so much. So David went through and I attempted to send Sara through to him. After much coaxing she finally made it through; but not once about three times because then she thought it was fun to run back and forth to David and I. I thought things would get better and it did relatively. Lady Liberty was beautiful as ever, the NY skyline from her was magnificent (other than the last time I stood on Liberty Island the Trade Center Towers stood so predominately), and David enjoyed the history. However, note to anyone going with a toddler. They don't allow you to take a stroller into the platform or the museum.
Jared, Xander, and Sara on Liberty Island

Jared, Xander, and Sara with Lady Liberty

Following our trip to the Statue of Liberty we walked and walked and walked..... through the financial district, to Ground Zero, and throughout Lower Manhattan. We also explored China Town and Little Italy all in record breaking temperatures of 98 degrees.

On Sunday, we decided to take it a little more low keyed and headed out to Long Island with my parents. Our first stop was to Long Island National Cemetery to pay respects to my paternal grandparents. It is a surreal sight to be in a National Cemetery and an honor to be the granddaughter of a WWII vet. Later that morning we had a nice brunch at my parents' friends house. The kids enjoyed playing on their grandchildren's trampoline and with the toys, and eating yummy food. Mid day we were off to visit my cousin Billy, and his family; Josephine, Marissa, Liam, and Baby Aiden. It was wonderful to see them. We kids all played well together, ran throughout the back yard, swam in the pool, shot water guns, and laughed and laughed. We had a wonderful dinner of grilled ribs, burgers, roasted corn, and potatoes. It was wonderful to spend time with family that I hadn't seen since before David and I were married. The funny part of the day was that it was my parents who spent most of the time in the pool with their grandchildren and great niece and nephew while Billy, Josephine, David and I sat around talking. Billy did get in for a little while but that was between chatting and grilling!

Billy and Liam

Josephine and Aiden

On Monday, our tour guide and NY city native; aka my dad; took us on a tour of the well known spots of the city. We rode the subway from Queens into Manhattan; all the kids were very excited to be riding. Sara was so so excited to ride the 'train'. First stop of the day was to Central Park. It was already getting very hot in the city so it was a short stroll through a very large park.

Jared and Xander in Central Park

We ended our walk through the park at Columbus Circle; and what else do you do if in Columbus Circle with three kids.... FAO Schwarz. All three were in heaven. Jared and Xander quickly headed to the Lego section and Sara to the piano featured in the movie Big. It's a good thing there were 4 adults it was definitely divide and conquer; or we still might be there today!

FAO Schwarz

After FAO Schwarz; Sara decided she had had enough riding in the stroller. Nothing was convincing her to ride so off she went holding grandpa's hand walking down 5th Avenue. She walked for 15 -20 blocks; keeping up a great pace for a 2 year old. She also convinced grandpa that it was time for ice cream as we passed Trump Towers; so to get a break from the 90 something to degree temps at 1100 am; we cooled off inside Trump Towers and had ice cream for a mid morning snack.

We continued walking up 5th Avenue and stopped into St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, the boys went to the Nintendo Store (and spent money), we passed NBC, and continued walking to Time Square. As we left Rockefeller Center, Sara decided she could ride again and by the time we got to Time Square she was fast asleep. Unfortunately for her she missed the M & M store but it was probably a good thing for us because she Loves M&M and I'm not sure she would have been convinced she didn't need any with the wall of M&M on the mix your own.

We also rode the Ferris Wheel in Toys R Us after she awoke. To conclude the day we headed back to Little Italy for some Gelato and pastries. They were almost too beautiful to eat.

Our final destination while being in the city was to drive out to Rockaway Beach before meeting my Aunt Pat for lunch. Rockaway is where my dad, his parents and brothers and sisters use to come on the weekends. Dad said it's changed alot in sixty years. Just behind the boardwalk where we were used to be an amusement park and cottages; now its high rise apartments. It was still beautiful to know that you can be standing on the boardwalk watching and hearing the waves of the Atlantic, watching planes descending into JFK and still see the Manhattan skyline all at the same time

Well our vacation continues for another 5 days throughout more of the State of New York...........

Thursday, June 24, 2010

She's turning 2 on June 25th!

I can't believe that in a few short hours my baby girl is going to be turning 2! (I am posting this a little early as we will be getting in the car at about 6 am to head to New York). I truly don't know where the two years has gone. It seems like just yesterday we received that call at 9:30 at night and would be seeing this sweet little 6 lb 2oz baby less than 48 hours later. At that time we weren't sure if we would be seeing blue or pink as the agency decided it was a good time for a surprise! Gretchen simply told us to have a boys name and a girls name by the next morning for the papers to be completed

Sara, you are your daddy's princess and one of the three most beautiful blessings I have ever received. You are well protected by your daddy, your brothers, and your papa; all who you have gently got wrapped around your finger; but mostly by your Heavenly Father. I love to see your smiling face, hear your laugh, and the pitter patter of your feet. You are so sweet and already have such a sensitivity that is blooming; from those precious words you say "let's pray", "God Bless You." and when you nightly hand me your Bible and say, "read momma, read!" You also have become very independent which is a good thing, most of the time. There are times that I wish you would allow others to help you but you normally want to try it on your own first. One of those times, not so long ago when you decided that you weren't' going to sleep in a crib any longer; it brought both sadness and joy. Sadness that my baby is growing into a little girl, and joy with the smile of accomplishment and pride of another milestone.

We love you sweet girl and you will always be our baby girl!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Weekend

This year was an unusually quiet Father's Day weekend. We were home much of the weekend just hanging out. It was also unusual as we were minus one child; Jared was off with the youth of our church and 1200 other youth at BigStuf camp in Panama City, Florida.
On Saturday evening we shared a great dinner with Kristin and Garrett at where else but Don Padro; its our regular eating spot when we go out with them. After that we headed to the park at about 8:00 at night just to let Xander, Sara and Garrett get some energy out. With it being as hot as it has been that's about the only time it tolerable to be out.

On Sunday, we went to church and had a quiet afternoon at home. We did stop by Wendy's for all of us to get a Frosty to support adoption. Later that evening we enjoyed a yummy dinner of beef and shrimp kabobs with my parents that was finished off with chocolate cake.

Xander, David and Sara enjoying a Frosty on Father's Day. We missed you Jared, but know your having a great time.

Friday, June 4, 2010

SciWorks in Winston- Salem

A few weeks ago when we were at the Scheile Museum in Gastonia we made what is turning into a great investment. They offer annual memberships to the museum, what we found in deciding to buy it is that it allows you entrance into over 245 museums throughout the country and world. The cost wasn't too bad and we are getting every dollar out of it. So we have put it to good use, in fact it has paid for itself 3 times already (for 75.00 you get admission to all the museums for 2 adults, sometimes 3 depending on the museum, and all the kids in your household). Lat week mom used it to take the kids to Discovery Place while I was working and this week we took a day trip to Winston-Salem to SciWorks.

SciWorks is a lot like Discovery Place in Charlotte but all the kids had a great time. Interactive Museums where they have something for all ages works very well; especially when you have an almost 2 yr old, a 10 yr old, and an almost 13 yr old. Sara was off playing in the toddler fishing area while Jared was looking at organisms in a microscope and Xander was reading about animals. They had rooms that were geared toward electricity, solving puzzles, biology room, a music room (which had a piano you walk on and play), a health room, and sports room, a playroom for kids under 7 and a room with animals/reptiles/and other creatures. They also had a planetarium with different shows geared toward all ages; including one for preschoolers about the solar system; and then one about the constellations for the older kids. Definitely a place we will go back to and I highly recommend.

Jared on the putting range in the sports room

Xander and Sara playing the piano

The Owl (yes it is alive)!

Xander and Sara coming down the tree slide

Jared at the Plasma Tube

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is mom's birthday! Thanks for being you. You are a great mom and wonderful Nana! Hope you enjoyed your day.