Monday, July 16, 2012

8 months old

Does it get any cuter than that??

This little love bug is now officially 8 months old.  It's been a big month for him!  He's turned into quite the busy-body over the past several weeks, and as usual it is a bitter-sweet thing for this mama.
  • As of a week ago, JB is crawling.  He'd been playing around with the idea for nearly month, but just a couple of hours after we got home from Wisconsin- he seriously just crawled off to the toy box in the living room.  It was like he was just waiting to get back to his "crib" before he took off. He skipped the whole army crawling phase and went straight for all 4's. He will also crawl with his legs fully extended in the back like a little man-cub haha.
  • He's starting to pull up on people, and also when he is in the bath tub (yikes).  We've moved the crib just in case, because I think he will be standing very soon.
  • JB has started eating puffs, and other little baby foods that dissolve quickly.  He isn't as interested in feeding himself as Emme was, but seems to like baby foods more and has started to try more types of pureed foods.
  • Still nursing 4x a day, but now I have started to just feed him a bottle of formula for one of those middle of the day feeds if we are not at home- it is WAY easier than trying to nurse a child with 7 teeth that wants to crawl off in public hehe.  It's hard to do that modestly. :)
  • That's right 7 teeth... and he's working on two more.
  • This child has a beat!  When music comes on he totally starts nodding his head and doing happy, excited arms.  I love it.
  • JB has decided that he has a future in baseball or basketball.  It cracks me up how he will literally chunk a ball from up over his head.  Pretty sure his ball-throwing skills are better than Emme's are.  Just another fun boy v. girl difference we are seeing in action.  He does everything with a grunt or a push like he's big stuff.

Happy 8 months, big boy.  You are a gift and a joy to us!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Family Vacation

After returning from our Anniversary trip to NYC, we spent the week in Cedarburg with my parents. It was nice having a week to just enjoy the peace and quiet of the town and do some fun family things together before returning to Denton. During that time we enjoyed the 4th of July parade and fireworks, lots of walks around town, spent time at the pool, and Emme got her ears pierced! It was a fun week that reminded me of the basic joys of life.  It is good to take time to slow down and concentrate on the important stuff-

"New York is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village - the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying the way is up!" E.B. White

Our last day in the big city we went down to the south side and took the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  I loved getting to see all the history and thinking of all the thousands of immigrants that came to our great country via NY not too long ago.  Over 60% of the population can trace their ancestors back through Ellis Island.  Really cool... I would love to come back again and spend even more time at the museum.  They had so many neat pieces of memorabilia, people's stories, pictures, etc. Just taking in all of the beauty of this place was such a memorable experience, and made me somehow feel so patriotic and thankful for the freedom we have in America.

Our last stop was Grimaldi's pizzeria for one last taste of the town before we headed back to Wisconsin.  We had a fabulous time and felt like we really did get to see and do it all while we were there.  I'm thankful to the Lord that He allowed Ben and I to make so many fun memories and I look forward to 10 more years and more adventures with my sweet hubby.

What is it about you?
You're big
You're loud
You're tough
The shadows at sundown
The roofs, that scrape, the sky
The rich and the rundown

The parade goes byOh, NYC
You make 'em all postcards
You crowd, you cramp
You're still the champ
Amen For NYC, 
The shimmer of Times Square
The pulse, the beat
The drive, NYC
The city's bright
As a penny arcade
It blinks, it tilts, it rings
To think that I've lived here all of my life
And never seen these things
Oh, NYC"
- Annie

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of

So Day 3 in NYC brought us to Chelsea Market, home of the food network and all things foodie!
Check out these adorable cupcakes- I so wanted to bring one home to my Emme Lou.
We could have spent even more time here.  But we were doing our best to pack in as much as possible since we don't know when we'll have the opportunity to come again.  We headed onward to Washington Square Park and saw the arch and then ventured on towards Greenwich Village to embrace our inner hippy haha.  We had lunch in an adorable cafe that my cousin recommended.  Just a fun, laid back atmosphere with great people watching.  Also the place they based the Friends apartment on was just down the road (Ben kept teasing that he wanted to get some coffee at Central Perk hehe).

Next it was off to Central Park! By this point we felt pretty good at navigating both by foot and by subway.  But Central Park was certainly off the grid.  In the short time we were there we managed to get ourselves totally lost... but then again, I think that is the point of this massive stretch of green in the concrete jungle.  We enjoyed checking out the Strawberry Fields, the MET and just wandering around the windy paths.

That evening we decided to do a late dinner after enjoying a delightful performance of Broadway's Chicago.  My Aunt Lisa arranged for us to have complimentary seats in the orchestra section, just 5 rows from the stage.  WOW! Talk about amazing, the actors were singing and talking right to us.  We both had such a blast and they definitely gave us "the ol' razzle dazzle!"  I think I may have suckered Ben into a few more musicals thanks to this one :)

Afterwards we met up with two of my girlies that now live and work in New York City, Hudson & Lauren, and the Shake Shack.  It was so fun talking to them about our experiences in the city and just hearing about their lives and catching up since it had been years since we've really gotten to chat in person.  Good times, good friends, good food!

I'm in a New York State of Mind

Our second day in NYC we headed to 30 Rockefeller Plaza for a tour of the NBC studios.  This was another one of my favorite parts of the trip.  Before heading inside we caught a bit of the TODAY show and spotted Matt and Al doing a segment.  It is funny to take it all in because on TV it looks so big, and like the two of them are on different streets when they talk to one another- but really they are both in a very small almost "alley."  Aaah the magic of television! We learned a lot of the secrets on the tour and also got to to see the studio where they film Brian Williams evening news, the set of Jimmy Fallon, and SNL.  We also saw part of the makeup studio for SNL.  I just loved hearing all of the stories and fun facts, our "pages" were awesome and lots of fun things to share with us.  They also only allow 15 people at a time on a tour so you got to ask lots of questions and really get up close and personal on the sets.  One funny story (I could tell so many) was that they used to do a waiting list to get tickets to SNL, but it was so long that people were literally dying off of it.  So they now have a lottery system that you can only apply for in the month of August.  Odds are like one in several million that you get a ticket- so if you do... take it!!

After our tour we went and stood in front of the window where they were filming the Kathy Lee and Hoda show.  We jumped around like idiots for awhile every time they panned to the audience- it was a blast.  We also had learned that the Kathy Lee studio is the only studio that actually has REAL windows.  It is a 250 million dollar studio that has lights that automatically adjust to even a single cloud going by.  All of the other studios have fake windows and they play a reel of the New York skyline in the background.  Most of the control panel views are also fake, just videos of guys drinking coffee and adjusting the volume haha.  Made me rethink a lot of what I've seen on TV ;) We then went up to the top of the Rock and took in the views. Absolutely gorgeous!!

We saw Radio City Music Hall and then headed towards Times Square for lunch.  We had seen it at night also, but wow, it is crazy how that place never sleeps!  Total craziness all of the time.

It's bright lights, big city, non-stop. Even my cousin Lauren, who is a native New Yorker says she just avoids Times Square all together because it is just totally overwhelming. It was fun to stand there and just take it all in though. We went and ate at John's pizzeria in Times Square also. Yummy stuff.

 From there we strolled through Bryant Park and also hit up the New York Public Library. The reading room there was so neat.  And they also had a fun exhibit on the New York "power lunch" and how it evolved- very cool.  By this point we needed a snack, haha. So we headed to Grand Central Terminal and had AMAZING banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery.  It is also really fun to just stand still in the terminal and let everyone buzz around you for a second. Almost surreal how fast the pace of life is there!

Next we went to Trump Tower and did the classic, "Ya fired!" in front of the building.  On a side note... my Aunt is a personal chef for the producers of the broadway musical, Chicago. They live in Trump tower when they aren't living in their "lake home" in Waccabuc.  Pretty posh stuff.  Next we stopped by another location of Tiffany's, Macy's, and of course, FAO Schwarz.  The big piano is fun to check out.  And you know, a couple of statues made entirely out of legos :)

Our last stop for the evening was at the broadway musical, Newsies.  LOVED it!! It felt so exhilarating to actually be on Broadway- taking in all the sights and sounds and the show was jam packed full of awesome choreography and catchy tunes.  So. much. fun.  We topped the night off with Junior's cheesecake and a little more Times Square action.  People watching in NYC is never disappointing.  And most nights you will also get a little performance on the subway as well.  Never a dull moment in the city that never sleeps.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I wanna' be a part of it... New York, New York!

So Ben and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary back on December 29th.  Our gift to each other was.... a newborn! So we decided to wait for the summer and really do it up big with a trip to NYC.  My parents were kind enough to keep the babies for us while we traveled. 

We left the kids on Monday and drove up to Chicago for the day, since our flight was leaving from O'hare early the next morning.  We stopped at an outlet mall and also went to another Triple D spot called The Shanty.  As always, Guy Fieri hardly disappoints.

Then we went on to our hotel, which was this really fancy Hyatt.  Since we did the Park, Sleep, Fly program, it only cost us $100 and we got to stay in 4 star quality- totally recommend that (thank you for the tip, Mom!)  After relaxing for a bit we decided we should hit up some Chicago deep dish pizza at Gino's. Good stuff...

Yes, I know there are a lot of eating pictures, but other than walk around and sight see- that's pretty much what we did on this vacation :) So anyway, that night about 2 am we got a call that our flight had been cancelled... boo... but through a sort of crazy couple of rather amazing-race like phone calls, talking with agents, etc.  we were able to re-book and get on a flight that arrived only an hour later so it all worked out.  When we arrived in NYC, Ben immediately got us hooked up with a scary limo driver that took us into the city.  Looking back, he totally could have murdered us, but it was fun riding in a limo and he did manage to get us quickly and safely to our hotel, the Hampton Inn in Times Square, off of 39th street- Garment District.  We wasted no time and set off to Chinatown.

Joe's Shaghai dumplings were the best!! We had fun looking at all of the knock-off stuff in Chinatown, and also browsed through Little Italy which is a pretty tiny street now.  We had a lot planned for the day, so we hopped on the subway and ventured down to the Financial district where we checked out Wall street, Tiffany's, NYSE, Federal Hall, and took in the city scape.

Then we headed over to the WTC memorial. All I have to say is that actually being there, at the site of that monumental day in history is just overwhelming.  No words, really to describe it.

We then made out way further south to the seaport and Pier 17.  There are so many beautiful sights to take in in NYC, and this area was by far my favorite.  We wandered around a little bit and decided to make the trek over the Brooklyn Bridge. For me, this was the most fun and memorable part of our trip.  It was breathakingly awesome!!

When we reached Brooklyn, we took the subway back over to Chelsea area and shared dinner at Katz' Deli, which is where they filmed "that" scene from When Harry Met Sally. Of course we split a sandwich so we could save room for delicious dessert(s) at Clinton St. Bakery- ohmygoodness!! Not to be missed! I would have gone back there if we had had more time.  We had many more adventures in store for Day 2 in the Big Apple, so as soon as our head hit the pillows we totally crashed :) It was a long and full day.