Thursday, May 31, 2012

NYC


Years ago when Glenn and I first started dating and talking marriage we used to dream about how fun it would be to go to New York together.  We both enjoy theatre and always wanted to see some broadway shows together.  Well, now we've finally done it.  And let me tell you, it was as wonderful as I imagined it would be.
The last time I was in New York City was a little over 10 years ago.  My mom let a friend and I go alone for my senior trip.  We spent a week there and saw a ton of shows.  The terrorist attacks on the city happened just 6 months earlier and the city still felt raw somehow.  Ground zero was especially affecting.  All the surrounding buildings still had most of their windows boarded up, the thousands of glass panes still shattered or blown out.  The huge pit where the twin towers once stood, a messy city block of dirt and debris.
That trip was my first big city adventure.  My first taste of big city electricity, energy, and pace.  My first time riding a subway train, seeing a city stuffed with culture with a capital C.  I loved it.  I left convinced that life was for me.  Turns out it wasn't.  I can't imagine living there now.  I watched people pushing single or double strollers around the city and it did not look like fun.  But I still love the feeling of being there.  London and Madrid left the same taste in my mouth when I was there.  Like something in me recognized the feel of the place and woke up.  I know it sounds weird but I don't know how else to explain it...and this is my journal of sorts after all, so judge if you must.
The last few months have been a little rough for me.  Moving so soon after Finn was born.  Trying to get my barrings with 2 kids at home.  Trying to make friends, make new routines, make my body do what I want it to do.  Trying to be patient, with Glenn, the boys, myself.  Lots of trying.  Not much success but lots of trying.  Glenn knew that I needed a break.  So about a month ago he came home with an itinerary for a trip.  He'd already cleared it with my mom and asked her to watch the boys and planned a big city getaway for what he proclaimed to be my mother's day, birthday, and anniversary gift.  I'm glad he just planned it and surprised me with it.  It's funny, we needed a little break but somehow planning it is hard.  Trying to figure out if there would be a better time to spend the money, get off of work, leave the kids, etc.  But, like my cousin Katelyn said recently on her blog, sometimes you just have to bit the bullet, and it's definitely a bullet I don't regret biting.  The only thing that was not ideal about the timing was that I'm still nursing Finn-o so it made for some uncomfortable days and runs back to the room to pump... but I just wasn't ready to stop yet so I suppose that was the compromise.
We stayed in a nice hotel just off Times Square so all our shows were just a quick walk away.
We hit four shows and tried to get Newsies tickets from the lottery but we didn't win.  Maybe next time.  Seeing broadway shows again made me so happy.  Seeing beautiful works of theatre that make me think and laugh and make connections to my life and the world around me makes me so happy.  Like a light inside got switched on again and I remembered that besides being a mom and wife I'm also really smart and experienced.  I'm well-trained in what I used to do and that part of me has been hibernating for a while, but it's not gone.  I miss it.  I sat through every show wishing that I had brought a notebook to write down great moments, lines, set ideas, transitions.  There were so many things I wanted to remember.
Our first show was "Once".
Oh, what a good first show it was.  11 Tony noms this year and they deserve every one.  It's based on the Indie film of the same name, but the show was far better than the movie.  The characters were more loveable and fully developed.  The story was deeper which made the songs mean much more, and their voices were perfect.  We have the movie soundtrack but I think we need the broadway cast recording too.  It was incredible.  The cast was the orchestra.  Every member of the cast played and instrument or two and they accompanied each song from chairs lining the sides of the stage.  Some songs they even played and danced at the same time.  Amazing.  How much practice would it take to do choreography on a crowded stage and not stab someone with your violin bow?  The story is about a man who's life is "stopped".  He's just stuck after a bad break up and a girl comes along and helps him get his life started again.  They're both musicians and help each other recover and move on by making music together.  Beautiful.  I can't stop thinking about it.
Our next show was "One Man, Two Guvnors", based on the 17th century Italian play, Servant of Two Masters.  It was a very entertaining comedy.  Light on story, heavy on physical comedy, improvisation, audience interaction, and just good fun.  The lead was played by James Corden and his interaction with the audience and comedic timing was perfect.  We laughed so hard.
That night we saw "Porgy and Bess" with Audra McDonald.
She was brilliant.  The acting was solid, the story heartbreaking.  I loved the songs that I recognized, but many of the songs I didn't were really hard to follow.  I don't know if it was because the melody was that strange, or because the singers had very wide vibratos and I couldn't find the melody, but either way, it made some of the music a little hard to connect to.
Our last show was "Peter and the Starcatchers".
This one might have been my favorite.  It had my mind reeling at the imagination of the world they created.  It was like a bunch of grown ups playing the most fun make-believe you've ever seen.  The kind of make-believe you wish you had the imagination and props to play when you were a kid.  They created ships in epic battles, an island teaming with pirates, birds, and savage indians, mermaids, and magic by using flashlights, bottles, wire, umbrellas, plastic sheets, ropes, gloves, toys, etc.  Every time they introduced a new element we were blown away by how fun and creative and fitting it was for the story.  The actors looked like they were having the time of their lives playing together.  It's based on a book and the story is a prequel to Peter Pan.  We learn how he learned to fly, how he met Tinkerbell, how he ended up in Neverland with the lost boys, etc.  It was simply brilliant storytelling.
When we weren't seeing shows we tried to make the most of our time in the big city and I think we did a pretty good job.  Here's our NYC check list for the trip:
  • Go to church in the same building as the Manhattan temple.
  •  Get sandwiches from Carnegie Deli and have a picnic in Central Park.
 Yep, they were huge.  Glenn liked them a bit more than I did.  I guess our expectations were different.
  • Wait in line a very long time to get to the observation deck of the Empire State Building.  It was Memorial Day weekend after all and I think everyone wanted to see the view at the same time we did.  
  •  Walk to Battery Park and wave to Lady Liberty.
  • Walk for hours around SOHO and Chinatown and eat great pizza for lunch in Little Italy.
  • Eat way too much for 2 meals every day.
  • Sleep in a little more each morning.
  • Visit the 9/11 memorial.  

It was touching.  When I heard about the plans and saw pictures I didn't think it would have the impact that it does.  They're building new skyscrapers all around where the twin towers stood.  But the footprints of the towers have been made into huge, square fountains that drop off twice.  The size of these fountains, and the buildings that used to stand there, are incredible.  It was heartbreaking to think of how huge they were and how many people were killed.  The fountains are lined with names of those who died.

They're listed under where or who they were when the attacks occurred.  The World Trade Center, Pentagon, flight numbers, the first responders next to their engine or ladder number.
 Thousands of names.  It was powerful.  It's been over 10 years since it happened and I left the memorial feeling the same fierce sense of patriotism and shock that I felt when I watched it happen across the country on TV.  I don't think I'll ever understand the kind of hatred that would cause such a tragedy.  I don't understand what would drive someone to kill thousands of people you'd never met.  I'm so glad we went.  It was hard but good to see that the people and events were being remembered and reverenced in such a beautiful way.

What a great trip.  We walked for hours every day and crawled into bed so tired at night.  We saw 4 broadway shows and so much of the island of Manhattan together.  We got lost, figured things out, had adventures.  We talked and talked and talked and remembered why we get along so well and why we fell in love to begin with.  Oh, we needed this getaway, and while I don't know if it was a convenient time, I'm sure there will never be a truly convenient time.  I'm glad we made us a priority this week.  I hope we can do it again soon because it was lovely.  Thanks honey for a fantastic trip.  And thanks Nana for taking such good care of our babies.  I don't know if we would have been able to handle leaving them if we didn't know someone was watching them who loved them as much as we do.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Picture Wednesday

Finn at 23 weeks old.  

 Little Finn-o is just a doll.  A happy, squishy, "fuffy" doll.  He's been rolling over a lot more lately.  He's mastered the back to tummy and then he usually gets stuck and frustrated after a while.  He has rolled back a few times but not as often.  He's starting to get a little more antsy and it sometimes takes a toy or change of scenery to keep him happy.  I don't love that.  I wish he'd stay my little infant Finn who needed nothing more than to be snuggled by me all day long to be happy, but I know those days are rapidly coming to a close.  So I guess I'll just hang on and get in as many baby snuggles as I can while I still can.

Glenn and I were gone for much of this past week on a little adventure of our own which I will blog about shortly!  My mom watched the boys and I don't think they missed us one bit.  She's so wonderful.
This is a new trick Finn's been doing since we got back.  For some reason while sucking his binky he occasionally sticks out his bottom lip and sucks his binky like this.
 Super funny-looking, but for some reason he likes it.  I sure love my little boy.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Picture Wednesday

I guess this week is going to be a silly face Picture Wednesday.  Finn's been doing this funny pucker face where he sucks his bottom lip under his top lip and that was the face of the day.  So here he is in all his 22 week old glory.

This week was a bit rough.  Glenn was out of town until this afternoon, and while the kiddos were really quite well-behaved, it was still no fun to be on my own all day and night.  Finn and I had a fight this morning at 4 am.  He said he was hungry.  I told him that he was fine and to go back to sleep.  He won, after about an hour of serious screamin'.  He's a pretty stubborn kid when he wants to be.  He's incredibly sunny and happy until he isn't and then there's really no consoling him unless you give him what he wants.  Luckily, what he wants is usually food or sleep and those are easy fixes.  The first time I realized that I couldn't calm him down was when he was just a couple weeks old and a friend came over to take some newborn pictures of him for me.  He started fussing and she said, "well, what do you do to calm him down?  Does it help to sing to him or snuggle him or wrap him up?"  I just thought about it for a second before I realized...nope, there's really nothing I can do.   Sometimes he takes his binky, but if he gets really mad then even that's a big, fat NO.  I'm lucky that he doesn't get mad for no reason very often because, truly, I'd be out of luck.
My birthday was this week.  Tate was excited about it.  When he woke up I snuggled in his bed and told him, "Today's my birthday, Tate."  He sat up in bed and said all excitedly, "And will there be cake?!"  He was excited all day about my birthday cake.  I received some sweet cards and phone calls, including one from Mal in Uganda.  That may have been the highlight of the day.  It was awesome to talk to her.  I miss her a lot.  Then Aunt Nancy and the Garvin crew had us over for pizza and cake in the evening.  It was so sweet of them to let us crash at their place so we didn't have to be alone on my birthday.  We had fun eating and talking for hours.  I sure love those Garvins.  They take good care of us.
They let us borrow the movie "Ice Age"this week.  It's been a big hit, especially considering our recent trip to the science museum where we saw a mammoth skeleton.  So lately Tate is Diego the saber tooth tiger and I'm Manny, the mammoth.  Flattering, I know.  "Hey, Mom, you're just a mammoth named Manny.   Manny, would you get me some goldfish?"

Monday, May 21, 2012

Circus Circus

We had a marathon play day last Friday.  We got invited by some friends in the ward to go to the Science Museum with their preschool group for free.  We couldn't pass that up so the boys and I spent the morning checking out the planetarium, dinosaurs, snakes, lizards, and outer space exhibit with some ward members.  Tate was in heaven being around so many kids.  He gets a little lonely here sometimes without friends to play with.  We miss his little Houston buddies.  He talks about them a lot.  Sometimes I tell him we're going to a park and he asks if Logan or Noah or Sam are going to come.  So sad.  We're trying to meet people but I think it's just gonna take a while to make some really good connections with people who have kiddos that Tate jives with.  Slowly but surely, right?

Friday night we planned to go to the circus.  We got a smokin' deal on a groupon type website a couple of weeks ago.  Tickets for all of us, elephant rides, and money for concessions or other rides all in a super cheap bundle.  It was great.  A pretty small-scale circus, which we expected for the price, but Tate loved it.  He's a big fan of the movie "Dumbo" so seeing a circus in real life was sweet.
We got there early and hit up some kiddie rides.  Tate went on the train a few times, of course.
 Next came the elephant ride. 
 Yep, there are 6 of us on that poor elephant.  Her name was Libby. Tate and I were both very excited to be so close to an elephant.  I love elephants.  It was a fast deal.  They piled all of us onto the elephant, led her around in a circle, then dropped us back off at the platform, but it was still cool.  Now we can say we've ridden an elephant.
Tate was holding onto the kid in front of him for dear life.  And he gave commentary as we walked in a circle, "I'm holding onto this boy.  This elephant is giving me a ride."  Yes, Tate.  That's right.

Next we hit up the pony ride tent.  Tate had even more fun riding his pony, whose name was Gustavo but Tate called him Gus (Guth), than riding the elephant.  He had this big grin on his face the whole time and kept talking to himself under his breath. "I'm just riding this guy.  I'm just riding Guth."
We had a brief encounter with a clown.  Tate was unimpressed.
Then it was off to the show.  
The show was pretty small-scale but we had a great time.  They had some cool juggling, tight-rope walking, animal tricks, trampolining, a motorcycle on a high wire, and some other cool acts.  I'm so glad we went.  I hope Tate is getting old enough to remember fun things like this, and I'm glad we're able to find them and do them together as a family.  It's much more fun to do things for our kids now than to do things for ourselves.  Watching Tate's face as he watched the circus acts was worth all the hassle of getting us there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

There are Bunnies at the Bottom of my Garden.

My mom used to sing us a song called, "There are Fairies at the Bottom of My Garden."  But I have bunnies in my garden.  Two baby bunnies, to be exact.  
 They're so cute and tiny.  Just a little handful of bunny, and wicked fast too.  I've seen them on my porch and in my little garden a couple of times and tried to catch them so Tate could snug them for a bit, but they were too fast.  And they have a bunny hide-out.  In this crack.  
 They both dive in there when I get too close for comfort and hide out until I leave.  But last night after Glenn came home, and I begged him to help me catch one to play with, just for a little bit.  Glenn, for some strange reason, was opposed to the idea of capturing a helpless little bunny for our 3 year old to love up, but he gave in.  It took the two of us,  our neighbor boy, and strategically positioning Tate to block another exit, but we caught him.  
He was so cute and soft.  We may have to have another snuggle visit sometime.  Today, every time we saw our garden bunnies Tate would whisper urgently, "Go get the bunny box!" which is this box with the cozy blanket in the bottom.  It's fun to have bunnies at the bottom of my garden.  I much prefer them to the things that were living in the bottom of my garden in Houston.    Thanks for playing little baby.
And here's Picture Wednesday.  Finn is now 21 weeks old.  What the junk, kids?  Please stop with all the growing.  
I love Tate's "smiling for the camera" fake smile.  What cute little boys I have.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mallo's Graduation

Now that we've been home for a week I'm finally getting around to posting about our trip to Utah for Mallory's graduation.  It was a great trip, as usual.  The boys and I got to spend a lot of time with the fam and enjoyed every minute.  Here's auntie Kenzie helping my littles get to the Spectrum for the main event on Saturday, May 5th.
Here's the crew waiting for Mallo's turn to get her diploma.  All the little kiddos were incredibly well-behaved, especially considering the drive up and sitting for a while during the ceremony.  I'm so glad we went. Mal deserved all our attention and support on her big day. We're super proud of her.

The big moment.
The fam in all our glory after the ceremony.  Way to go Mal! 
The Graduate with mom and dad.
Strange things happen when these two get together.  
The sistahs.
It was a very busy week.  I guess that's why it felt like it went SO much faster than other trips home.  We had a lot of errands to run to get Mallory ready to leave for her four month stay in Uganda.  Adam and Cami were home that week too after being in China for 6 weeks.  It was a busy household and I loved it!  So many people to talk to and play with.  I think it's been at least a year, probably more, since we've all been together like that.  It makes me sad to think how long it may be until we're all together again.  We're all growing up and moving away and it's getting so much harder to make our schedules align.  I guess we'll just have to plan family vacations so we have an excuse to make it happen!

The little cousins were darling together again which just made my heart smile.  It's wonderful to see Tate, Mya, and Sadie run around after each other.  One of them finds something to do or to play with and the others follow, then another gets an idea and the others don't want to miss out so they follow them.  They are darling together.
Finn got a lot of love on this trip too.  Sadie would come over and check him out once in a while.  One time she came over and rubbed his fuzzy little head and said, "Finn is fuffy!"  Yep he is.  He's just got a little fluff up there.  So now sometimes we call him fuffy.  Sweet little Sadie.
Miss Mya couldn't get enough of "tickling" his cheeks and loved when he'd "chat" and coo at her when she'd talk to him.  She thought every sound he made was so funny and kept asking us, "what's he saying to me?"  So we'd translate and tell her that he was saying "Mya's so beautiful.  I love her so much." and other such flattery.  She ate it up.  Love, love, love that little girl.
Ad and Cami came home from China with all sorts of treasures.  One most amazing treasure, to the kids, was this cool Chinese kite.  
It was long enough to reach all the way across the cul-de-sac and the kiddos loved seeing all the little kites fluttering in the sky.  So fun.
I had a blast staying up late talking to my sibs, watching our kiddos play, going shopping with my sisters, and fantasizing with Mallory about her upcoming adventures in Uganda.  Mal and I only fit in one jog together that week but it was so nice.  I love jogging together and having her all to myself to pick her brain and talk about everything.  I'm so excited for her next four months.  She's an amazing sister and I'm constantly baffled at how I got to be the older sister.  Must be some cosmic mix-up because she's far wiser than I and I learn so much from her.  Want some good reading to make you appreciate how wonderful your life is...and also wish you could adopt some dear little Ugandan kids?  Read her blog.
We miss you, fam.  Thanks again for a fun week.  Hopefully we'll see you again soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Picture Wednesday

Here's little Finn-o,  19 weeks old at Nanna's house.
 
 And here's little man today at 20 weeks old.  
Finn is changing so fast.  Why must they do that.  These kids come into my life, change everything, steal my heart, and then grow up so fast.  It's entirely unfair.  Finn is just a doll.  He's such a good boy.  He only cries when he's hungry or tired and the rest of the time he's so sweet and happy.  I was watching some videos of Tate as a baby last week and remembered how hard we had to work to get him to smile or laugh when he was Finn's age.  It was worth it, when he did, but it took more work.  All it takes with little Finn is a second of eye contact and he just lights up.  It's great for your confidence.  He's ALWAYS happy to see you.  He's such a fun size right now.  Just a big ball of boy.  The perfect size for rolling up and squeezing tight into a little ball in my arms or on my shoulder.  Perfect.  It's hard to imagine that he'll be moving around on his own soon and this time of loving to snug and being content in my arms is limited.  I try not to think about it too much.
I have so much to record about last week in Utah but it will have to wait for another time.  We had so much fun and it's a bummer to be home, as always.  Today was filled with errands and cleaning I had put off and tomorrow probably will too.  Coming home from a trip is always a bust.