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Southerners in the Big City

Sunday, July 24, 2016

I mentioned before that we had one full day in New York City and we tried to pack in a lot of fun sights and experiences. We stayed at Le Parker Meridien just south of central park so we were right in the thick of the fun (but tucked a block or two away from the craziness of Times Square).

Our day's agenda looked something like this: 1) Breakfast, 2) Top of Rockefeller Center, 3) Walking food tour in Greenwich Village, 4) Museum of Natural History, 5) Dinner.

We got up and walked the few blocks down to Rockefeller Center and stopped at a Pret A Manger for a quick breakfast along the way. We got to Rockefeller right nearly right when it opened and took the elevator all the way up to the top. I imagine the place got much more crowded as the day went along but it was not crowded at all at 9 am. The views were so pretty. We love Rockefeller even more than the Empire State Building because well you can see the Empire State Building.

We hung out on "Top of the Rock" for 30-45 minutes probably catching views from all the angles. Then we ventured out to find our way down to Greenwich Village to meet up with the food tour. This necessitated Perry's first NYC Subway trip which was an icky and obligatory rite of passage. 

We made it to the Village and Murray's Cheese Shop just in time to start the food tour. I have said this over and over here on the blog but we love food tours. We try to find them in every city we travel to. It is just such a fun way to spend a few hours walking and eating and immersing yourself into the atmosphere and culture of a neighborhood. Last time we were in New York we did a Lower East Side food tour. This time we went with Greenwich Village. It was 3 hours of so much fun. We learned about the history and architecture of the area and sampled yummy food from 8 places:
  1. Pizza from Joe's Pizza
  2. Olive Oil and spreads from O and Co Olive Oil Shop
  3. Rice Ball from Faiccos (plus a salami bonus that our guide finagled us)
  4. Cauliflower, currants, caramelized onions & pine nuts from Palma Ristorante (seated tasting)
  5. Eggplant Rollatini from Rafele Ristorante (seated tasting)
  6. Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie from Mike and Cookies
  7. Assorted Cheese from Murray's Cheese Shop
  8. Cannoli from Rocco's Pasticceria

So definitely an Italian theme going on. It was all so good. Perry had a great time too, despite the ads saying its not good for kids. Maybe some kids would get bored and unruly but our kid was great and perfectly well behaved. We strolled him in the stroller between places and he would hop out and walk (and we would fold up the umbrella stroller) in establishments. Unsurprisingly the cookie was his favorite part. And he may have eaten his weight in orange slices at Rafele. While we were all eating our eggplant pasta (which he decided he was not a fan of) the bartender kept his plate stocked with orange slices from the bar. 

Once we finished the food tour we all decided we needed to walk off some of the food we had just consumed and so we started walking towards the Museum of Natural was several miles away so we knew we wouldn't make it all the way there on foot but we lasted about 2 miles and to Times Square when we decided to hail a cab the rest of the way. 

We got to the Museum late afternoon (hello crowds) and spent an hour or so hitting the highlights of ocean life and dinosaurs. 

By this time it is nearing five o'clock and we are all pretty tired from a very full day. So we walked back to our hotel through Central Park. I think we all thought our feet were going to fall off as we trudged the last few blocks (except Perry who was dead asleep in his stroller). Ann, Andrew and Perry all headed straight up to the room while I stopped by the Burger Joint in our hotel lobby. It is this little, quite literal hole in the wall restaurant in the fancy hotel. Indicated only by a small neon lit burger shaped sign behind the registration desk. I grabbed a bunch of burgers and fries to-go and we ate in the comfort of our hotel room. 

We got Perry cleaned up and in bed and Andrew and I ventured out to go do a little shopping on 5th Avenue and grab dessert at Dylan's Candy Bar. S'mores pizza and fun candy themed drinks for the win. It put the cherry on top of a really fun New York City day.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

It was about this time last year conversations and plans got started about a family cruise to Bermuda this summer. We made some tentative plans with the Eckleys and then kind of stuck a pin in the idea to think about more later. When Gary passed away in December it was challenging to bring the topic of family travel up again. It was one of his favorite things and we had so hoped that he would be able to go on this trip with us.

We knew that carrying on with travel and fun as a family is exactly what Gary would have wanted us to do. So we convinced Ann to book a cabin and plans resumed in ernest for the summer 2016 trip. 

We set sail a few weeks ago from NYC to the beautiful island of Bermuda. We had a spectacular time although there was definitely a person missing in the memories and pictures. We used the hashtag #thisoneisforgranddaddy for the trip because that is really what it was. It was a trip of resilience and continuing to honor and remember him in the way we live, and travel.

Over the next few days I am going to work through sharing our favorite pictures and memories from the trip. It started out with a little time spent in New York City. Andrew, Perry, Ann and I flew up on Friday before the cruise left on Sunday so we would have one full day to experience as much of the city as we could pack in. 

We left after work on Friday and boarded a plane from Huntsville to Atlanta and then Atlanta to La Guardia. Granna came with us on our trip up and little excursion in the city. We could not wait to get the trip officially started. 

P was all smiles at this point in the late afternoon but by the time we got to La Guardia it was 10 pm. Just a smidgen past our little guys bedtime. He fell asleep just before we landed and slept through the whole luggage getting and drive to the hotel. I had a car service waiting for us because well it was La Guardia at 10 pm. And we needed to get to the city. Preferably with a carseat. P was still asleep when we made it to the room and set him in bed. 

Didn't take long for all of us to resume that state considering we had a full day head of NYC fun.

How many genetic counselors does it take to start a fire?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A few weeks ago now my genetic counseling graduate school classmates all got together in the hills of Ohio (Hocking Hills) for a long weekend. We try to get the whole group together each year somewhere or another. For the last several years we have made it a beach weekend to Ocean Isle. This year we wanted to change it up and do something more woodsy...and needed to be within driving distance of the very pregnant Alexis. So Ohio it was.

It is pretty incredible that 6 years since graduation we are able to wrangle all of our schedules and get reunion weekends together. Speaks to the amazing friendships that were formed those years ago in North Carolina and the priority we set on our scientific sorority.

I had Telah (my cookie lady) make some woodland creature cookies and mason jars that said "Having a ball since 2008." They turned out so cute.

We rented an awesome cabin that had plenty of sleeping room, a game room, huge dining room table, hot tub and fire pit. What else could we need?

I appointed myself the woodland creature snack creator apparently...and spent way too long sticking almond shavings into a cheeseball to make a hedgehog. But look how cute it turned out... Ha.

It was a pretty rainy weekend so we hung inside a lot and played games, watched (scary-ish) movies and caught up on life. We were able to go out on a hike once to some nearby caves.

And we were able to have a fire one night. The fire was no small feat since it had been raining and we didn't have much in the way of dry wood. But we dusted off our old girl scout skills and got a fire going good enough for some 'smores. 

Things I learned over the weekend...I am way better at snack creation than I am at banagrams or foosball. Mosquitos think I am quite tasty. And I love these GC girls so much. We spent time plotting out reunions for many years to come...including a visit to all 50 states...and what I am sure will be a riot of a trip to Branson when we are senior citizens. And I think we might just do it. Can't wait until next year's trip! Just need to figure out what state we will tackle next.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

While mom's away the boys will play

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A few weeks ago I had a little weekend getaway to the hills of Ohio to meet up with my graduate school class for our annual reunion. While I was gone, the church hosted a family carnival. I hated to miss it but Andrew got to have a daddy/son date. And they were good about sending me pictures. Looks like they had a grand time!

"Mommy and Me" at Disney, day four

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Our last day in Disney World we headed back to the Magic Kingdom because well it is a preschoolers paradise. We got there super early as we had tickets for Early Morning Magic. A little up charge that was way worth it in my book - especially for a small trip where you are packing in the fun. We had walk on access to Peter Pan, Pooh and Mine Train for an hour and a half before the park opened plus all you can eat breakfast at Pinocchio Village Haus (which you could stop at more than once...we ended up stopping a couple times for a grab and go breakfast snack). We rode mine train first. And I learned that Perry likes roller coasters a lot more when it is not first thing in the morning. He doesn't like much of anything first thing in the morning. Except sleep. lol. He gripped my arm and said "I don't like this" the whole way. He loved it two days before in the afternoon.

Interview with a 3.5 year old

Monday, July 4, 2016

Yesterday was Perry's half birthday which means he is rounding the three and a half corner and will be four before we know it. Happy half birthday sweet boy!

It is our tradition to do a little interview with him on half birthdays to capture what he is into these days and how his thoughts and interests change over the years. So without further adieu here are a few words from 3.5 year old Perry.

What is your name: Perry

How old are you: Three

What color is your hair: Red

Who are your friends: Sully, Caitlin, Austin, and Hunter

Who is your best friend: Sully and Austin

What is your favorite food: Shark*
*to which we questioned "shark? really? you don't eat shark" then he remembered that fish are friends, not food and changed his answer to chips and cheese dip. and oranges.

What is your favorite drink: Chocolate milk and juice

What is your favorite color: Blue

What is your favorite animal: Dolphin

What is your favorite thing to watch on TV: Nemo

What is your favorite song: "Big Blue World" (from Nemo)

What is your favorite book: Octonauts (encyclopedia of ocean creatures)

What is your favorite thing to do inside: Play with my toys

What is your favorite thing to do outside: Ride Mater (powered tow truck riding toy)

What does your mom say: "Go inside"

What does your dad say: "Go potty"

What do you want to do when you grow up: Play football

"Mommy and Me" at Disney, day three

Sunday, July 3, 2016

After two full days of Disney Park fun. We took an easy start to day 3. We slept in, had a leisurely breakfast at the resort, and took a dip in the pool. I have no pictures from the pool itself because well...single parenting probs. But we had a great time. They have racks of life vests to borrow which made Perry able to play and traverse the pool like a big kid.

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