Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bad Baby

I think this is the funniest picture.  Evil Children of the Corn baby.
He sure can crawl fast now.  On to walking!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Right to the Very Heart of It, New York, New York

New York City!  Wow, what an exhausting city to do with babies.  They napped on the go, and we sure wished we could too.
Baby Levi napping.
Piper napping.

Baby Levi loved the hustle and bustle.  He especially liked the subway.  The noise and the movement really appealed to him

The subway is not stroller-friendly, though.  Thank goodness for extra sets of hands.  We had to carry the strollers up and down stairs over and over again.  Also, we had to enter through the subway's emergency exit, setting off the alarm every single time.  I watched an NYC mom carry her toddler-in-stroller up the stairs like a champ.  I sooo could not do that day after day.
Pointed toes means he's excited.

We did a lot of fun stuff in New York City.  We started out shopping in Chinatown (did you see my awesome sunglasses in the first picture?).  Then we jumped on the Staten Island ferry to see the Statute of Liberty.

Happy baby on the ferry.

After the ferry we went to the 9-11 memorial.  Thankfully Paul was on the ball (haha, that rhymes) and got us tickets that morning so we could head right in.  Very very sadly, though, after Paul skipped Chinatown and the ferry to move our suitcases and get our tickets, he couldn't even go in the memorial because he had his fancy pocketknife in his shorts.  As Piper would say, Bummer!!
The new towers are under construction.  At the site of the old towers is the memorial.  It's an outdoor park with huge fountains where the towers were.  The fountains flow downwards, and all around are the names of those who died on 9-11 and in the first World Trade Center bombing.

This tree is called the Survivor Tree.  It was found alive after the 9-11 attack and was replanted and is still flourishing.

After the memorial we grabbed a bite to eat at a roadside hot dog stand.  I was furious when I found out my meal cost $18!!!  Seriously??  Is that soft pretzel filled with gold?  Dang.

We went back to the hotel for a short rest and to get the babies down to sleep.  Then we went to the musical Jersey Boys.

I'll be the first to admit that Jersey Boys wasn't my top pick of Broadway shows to see.  But it was sooo good!!  I loved it!  I didn't think I knew any Four Seasons songs, but I knew almost every one they played.  The music was fantastic, the story was interesting, and the performances were dynamite.  I definitely recommend it to anyone.  Fabulous show.

Unfortunately, the babies could sense we were having too much fun without them.  They woke up right about the time the show was starting and wouldn't stay asleep for Krystle and Paul.
It was sweet to get back to the hotel and see Paul rocking baby Levi to sleep and shushing me as I walked in.  Krystle and Paul handled the situation like pros. 

The next morning we hopped a plane out of LaGuardia and headed home to sunny Florida!  Daddy Levi was really happy to have us back.  We had a fantastic trip.  Muchos thank yous to Krystle and Paul for being our tour guides, our cooks, our chauffeurs, our babysitters, etc etc.  I'll come back anytime you'll have me!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cornell, Ever Heard Of It?

I'm so proud of my sister Krystle for going to Cornell for her PhD.   What an amazing accomplishment! While in New York we got to check out her stomping grounds and find out a little about the research she's working on.

Baby Levi in Krystle's engineering lab.

Cornell is a really beautiful campus.  Unfortunately Krystle has to work in the ugliest building there.  I didn't take a picture of it, but trust me, all the other buildings were much nicer.  :)

 Can you believe this "river" is on campus?  So pretty!  And Donna is pretty too.

 I love these pictures of Niki and Piper.  Piper walks, but very slowly.  Slowly, but cutely.

Krystle took us to the coolest library.  It looked like it belonged in Harry Potter.  The upper floors were very open so you could see story after story of books books books!  If I went to Cornell this is where I would study.  There were even big plush leather chairs and a fireplace.  Also, busts of bald smart men.

Niki, looking so studious and wise.  She just needs a pipe and a bowtie.

And of course, I had to act out my favorite Ivy League joke: "It's a different world, where big blonde guys row boats and eat ivy."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Deck the Falls

Baby Levi made his first international trip as we ventured into Canada to go to Niagara Falls.  As we got ready to cross the border, I had to stop our caravan to get my passport out of the trunk of the other car.  I thought Canada was like Mexico -- anyone can come in, you just need your passport to get out.  Luckily someone corrected me before we actually got to the border.

PJ got us fabulous hotel rooms right by the falls.  PJ and Catha had a suite with a perfect view.  The babies were crazy about the view.  We couldn't tear them away from the windows.

When we left the hotel in the morning, it was really chilly and wet outside.  We bundled up the babies (and ourselves), but down by the falls it actually felt nice and warm.  I put what I thought were socks on baby Levi's feet, only to notice they were mittens and not socks.  Ha.  I just tucked the thumbs in and you couldn't really tell.  That's how often he wears socks in Florida -- I don't even know what they look like.

Baby Levi took this picture.  Hi, Aunt Kiki!

Niki and I had never been to Niagara Falls before, so we went on the under-the-falls excursion.  There are actually tunnels underneath the big horseshoe falls.  The bad thing was the line to the lookout right underneath the falls was really long.

While we were waiting in line, Niki noticed the couple in front of us getting their phone ready to take a picture.  She suggested I ask them to take our picture and we would take theirs.  When I asked them, the guy said, "Oh, no thanks.  But we'll take your picture."  And then he took a self portrait of himself and his companion with his arm stretched out.  I guess he just didn't want to hand me his phone!  I do look a little shady I guess.

I loved Niagara Falls.  It was gorgeous.  So glad we went!

All right, two destinations left to blog about.  Cornell and New York City still to go.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cradle of the Restoration

While in New York we traveled to see a lot of church history sites.  It was really neat -- I had never been to any of the New York sites.  We also timed our trip so that we could see the Hill Cumorah pageant.

First stop, the Peter Whitmer farm in Fayette, New York, where the church was officially organized and where a lot of the Book of Mormon was translated.  This house was rebuilt on the original cornerstone of the house.

After taking this picture, I set my camera down somewhere and left it there in Fayette.  I blame mommy-brain.  Luckily, Paul's dad PJ found someone in their ward who was going to be there a few days later, and he picked it up for me.  Yay!  Also luckily, I packed my videocamera too, which takes still photos (but doesn't have a flash), so I didn't miss out on any pictures.

Next stop, the Smith family farm.  There are two houses on the property, the old home and the newer home.  The old home is where Joseph Smith lived when he had the First Vision, and where Angel Moroni appeared to him in the upstairs room.  We stood in the same "air space" that the Angel Moroni did, even though the house was not the original one.  I can't believe how tiny that house was for so many people.  It's amazing how abundantly we live nowadays. 

This was the brick hearth where Joseph Smith had to hide the gold plates from mobbers.

Of course, on the same property as the Smith farm is the Sacred Grove.  No one knows where exactly Joseph Smith had the First Vision, but it's all very beautiful and spiritual.

Baby Levi liked having some time to crawl around in the grass at the Smith property. 

We all have the same smile, don't we?

 We stopped at the Palmyra Temple grounds on our way home from Niagara Falls.  It's such a beautiful temple.  It has windows that look out over the Sacred Grove, and it has stained glass everywhere depicting trees.  Krystle said it's such a small temple you have to make a reservation to do an endowment session.  We didn't go inside; we only spent some time on the grounds.

Also in Palmyra was the site of the first publication of the Book of Mormon.  I really enjoyed that.  It had a lot of demonstrations of early bookmaking, printing, and binding, and an original copy of the Book of Mormon.

After the Palmyra Temple, we went to the Hill Cumorah pageant.  It was fantastic!  I can't believe the special effects they pulled off -- fireballs, rain, smoke and mist, it was pretty cool.  Baby Levi, Donna, and I met "Laman," and he said the beard he wore was the same kind they use in Hollywood movies. 

Baby Levi did great -- he slept through the whole pageant, stayed asleep being put into the car, and slept the whole two hours home.  Unfortunately, once we got back to the house he screamed for about an hour and a half before he fell back asleep.  I felt very bad for everyone there; after all that driving, everyone just wanted to get to sleep!!

More on Niagara Falls, Cornell, and New York City later!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Empire State of Mind

We're home!  We saw just about every inch of New York state in the space of a week.  And we took some adventure babies with us!

Baby Levi loved New York!
I started to get really nervous about the trip around a week ahead of time.  I worried baby Levi wouldn't sleep, wouldn't eat, and would just be a bear.  But he was a real trooper!  He grabbed his naps when he could, didn't sleep well at night but didn't scream either, and loved every site we went to.

He LOVED spending time with his family.  He especially loved Piper.  When he would get cranky, I would just bring him over to Piper and he would cheer up immediately.

Happy cousins!

We joked that Piper could be his babysitter.  She called him "Baby," and would wake up in the morning asking for Baby.  He plays rough, though, and after a little while she would see him coming and start saying in a scared voice, "Baby!  Baby!" 

Pinching Piper's leg.

I love the look on her face here.  "Baby!"

Gonna get her...

Baby kiss!

Playing together

Baby Levi even shared his clothes, diapers, and food with Piper when Niki's suitcase didn't make the plane to Binghamton.  Unfortunately, he didn't have anything very girlie (and no hairbows) so Piper had to go butch for a day.

Baby Levi had to warm up to everyone else in the family, but soon he was loving his aunties, uncles, and grandparents.  He even liked going to Paul's parents, PJ and Catha.
Uncle Paul was the "fun uncle."  He liked to throw the babies around and give them all kinds of great food that the moms wouldn't give them.  He got his payback when he babysat them one night and they wouldn't sleep.  :)

Baby Levi loved to snuggle Aunt Kiki

Papa and his grandbabies.

What did not go so well was sharing rooms with people.  Baby Levi woke up crying several times a night (I thought we were past that stage!) and did not make it easy on roommates.  He did get a few solid nights' sleep in the basement of the house, which Donna dubbed "the sleep lab."  He was happy to get home to his own bed.

Napping today in his own bed.  Home sweet home.

More on our New York excursions tomorrow!  Stay tuned.